Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color

by Jenny Johnston

Jan 9, 2012

Identity-based philanthropy is a movement empowering marginalized communities to organize giving on their own behalf to issues that they deem as most pressing. Calling today "a critical moment for the field to rise in visibility and importance," the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released this report to document the work they have done thus far and what is next for their Cultures of Giving initiative.

  • Identity-based funds raise and distribute nearly $400 million a year.
  • Though racial minorities are underrepresented on mainstream philanthropic boards, informal philanthropy has long been common among communities of color.
  • African Americans give away 25 percent more of their income per year than whites.
  • Communities in philanthropy have long seen one another as being in competition for limited resources; however, building connections and fostering collaboration between identity-based funds has a strongly positive effect on their individual effectiveness.
  • Foundations should take an asset-based approach to funding communities of color, supplementing their resources and capacities so that they can create their own change and avoid the paternalism that sometimes plagues mainstream philanthropy.