New report is the first to explore race and giving through a gender lens
The Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy


As communities of color grow in wealth and influence, and women from all racial backgrounds lead through philanthropy, common perceptions of who society sees as a “philanthropist” are being challenged as never before. Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color is the first study to explore the intersection of race, gender, and giving. The report finds that while each person’s giving journey is unique, generosity is universal across all groups of people.

The report found that households across all racial groups give to charity and a donor’s race does not have a significant effect on the amount given, after adjusting for factors such as wealth, income, and education. Gender patterns previously identified by WPI—specifically, that single women and married couples are more likely to give than single men—hold true within each of the communities studied (African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, and White households were included in the analysis).

The report, which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, demonstrates the unique perspectives women of color bring to philanthropy and underscores the importance of understanding and engaging donors from diverse backgrounds.

Key findings from Women Give 2019:

  • Households across all racial groups give. A substantial portion of all racial groups give to charity, and high net worth households are especially likely to give.
  • Households across all racial groups give to similar causes, including both religious and secular causes. Religion and basic needs are the top two causes supported across race and income.
  • 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. Other demographics, such as income and wealth have a stronger impact on household giving amounts.
  • 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.
  • Communities of color appear less engaged in formal volunteering, but tend to volunteer informally at higher rates. Women in communities of color embrace an expansive definition of philanthropy that involves giving time, talent, treasure and testimony, whether formally and informally.

“This year’s Women Give report raises awareness that the generous philanthropy that takes place in diverse communities often goes unrecognized. Women in communities of color can see themselves and their experiences reflected in this empirical research about generosity. To overcome outdated stereotypes of who a philanthropist is, the philanthropic sector must be more intentional about embracing and including diverse perspectives and approaches,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., associate dean for research and international programs and dean’s fellow for the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

In conjunction with the report release, WPI partnered with the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and Facebook to create the “Who Is A Philanthropist?” video series, which spotlights how diverse women are giving back to their communities in unique ways.

At GivingTuesday, we believe that when we share our stories about giving, we create a ripple effect that inspires others to give. Please join us in the conversation and share your stories about giving back using the hashtag #IAmAPhilanthropist.

Find the full report below and download the infographic