Research & Reports

Intersection of Race, Giving and Gender

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Women Give 2019

Women Give 2019In Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly School of Philanthropy seeks to understand how generosity links women across racial lines. While some research has examined race and charitable giving, this study is the first to explore the intersection of race, gender, and giving.

The report finds that generosity is a value shared by all communities, and that women across race and ethnicity are leading through philanthropy. Women may take different pathways to their philanthropy, but they have more similarities than differences in their giving and volunteering.

As communities of color grow in wealth and influence, the study demonstrates the unique perspectives women of color bring to philanthropy and underscores the importance of understanding and engaging donors from diverse backgrounds.

Key Findings

  • A donor’s race does not have a significant effect on the amount given to charity, when taking income and other factors into account. When factors known to affect giving (such as wealth, income, and education) are taken into consideration, and giving is measured as a percentage of income, race does not appear to affect the amounts that households donate.
  • Overall gender differences in giving appear consistent across racial groups. For all groups, single women are more likely than single men to give to charity; married and cohabiting couples are more likely than either single men or single women to give to charity.
  • Formal volunteering shows greater racial and ethnic gaps. Communities of color appear to be less engaged in formal volunteering. Other research has shown that informal volunteering rates (giving time, but not via a formal program or organization) are higher in communities of color.

The report also highlights case studies with six philanthropic women who identified how they define philanthropy, background experiences that shape their philanthropic values, as well as how their identities guide their philanthropic activities. These interviews were conducted in order to supplement the data analysis with the life experiences and giving pathways of women in communities of color.

This study is timely as all sectors—government, business, and nonprofit—turn increasing attention to diversity and inclusion in all areas of society. The findings in Women Give 2019 challenge organizations across the nonprofit sector to expand their donor and volunteer networks by more deeply engaging diverse women and men.

The full report can be found on the Women’s Philanthropy Institute website.

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