Seattle Foundation Blog

Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month

African American philanthropists on average give 25% more of their incomes than others


August 09, 2017

Created in 2011 by the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network, Black Philanthropy Month celebrates giving from those of African descent worldwide. With a theme of "Giving Voice to Fuel Change," it features events throughout the month and encourages engagement from community service and sharing stories of black giving to supporting African-American themed giving circles. Throughout the month, you can follow and contribute to the hashtag #BMP2017 on social media.

According to a study by the Kellogg Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, African American donors give away 25 percent more of their incomes than Caucasian donors. The same study finds that African American donors contribute over $11 billion a year to various causes nationwide. 

Historically, these donors have included a diverse roster of givers like Oseola McCarty, a washerwoman in the deep south who worked until the age of 86 and saved her money to fund scholarships for students at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her generosity gave students access to educational opportunities she never had. It also includes educator and lifelong change agent Geoffrey Canada, who founded the Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational center to strengthen children and families through tutoring, recreational programs, parenting coaching and more.

The number of philanthropic funds devoted to African American causes and interests has grown substantially in recent decades, as have African American granting organizations. Seattle is proud to count philanthropists like AFP Outstanding Philanthropists Bob and Micki Flowers among our city’s most generous and influential citizens. The Flowers have deep ties to our mission, with Bob Flowers serving as the spokesperson for The African American Heritage Fund, a collective grantmaking group run through Seattle Foundation. The fund just announced our 2017 grantees, investing $260,000 in organizations that benefit the African American community in Seattle. Flowers was also recently honored by the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, with Seattle Foundation Philanthropic Advisor Stephen Robinson accepting the award on his behalf. We're also privileged to support the philanthropy of organizations like the Seattle chapter of Alpha Omicron Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, part of the oldest African American fraternity in the country, and givers like former mayor Norman Rice, who also served as President and CEO of Seattle Foundation.

Seattle Foundation celebrates Black Philanthropy Month and the philanthropic leaders and community partners who are working to increase economic opportunity and racial equity for all. Interested in expanding your philanthropy and community impact? Connect with one of our philanthropic advisors to learn more.


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