Report Examines Growth of African-American Family Foundations

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African-American family foundations, which tend to favor giving to locally based social service organizations, especially programs focused on children and youth, have grown in number and popularity in recent years, a new Aspen Institute report analyzing this subset of funders shows.

In “A Growing Tradition? Examining the African-American Family Foundation,” University of Pennsylvania researcher Marybeth Gasman notes that the long tradition of giving to the church continues today for black philanthropists. But she cites research showing that African-American philanthropists also gave 25 percent of their charitable donations to organizations that serve the public need, such as after-school programs. Educational causes are also high on the list of giving priorities.

A large number of black foundations – 73 percent – were founded by professional athletes or in honor of one. Most givers said they chose to form a family foundation to “give back,” a reason Gasman says is consistent with other literature that shows African-American donors typically say they feel obliged to give back to society.

The study, released late last month, reviews African-American family foundations’ motivations and background, locations, assets and management, composition, and goals and donation targets.

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