Past and present-day discrimination and structural inequities created and exacerbate vast racial gaps in income and wealth. Black families own about one eighth the assets of White families. About 30 percent of African American families report that they have no liquid assets. But a singular focus on what Whites have and what African Americans don’t causes us to overlook the remarkably high rates and consistency with which African Americans give to charitable organizations.

On average, African American households give 25 percent more of their income annually than White households. The Kellogg report found that rates of aggregate charitable giving for African Americans is increasing at a faster rate than are their incomes and wealth. However, lower relative wages for African Americans have impeded Blacks’ ability to transfer wealth intergenerationally.

Some relatively new and visionary national organizations now work to both shrink the wealth gap and push the philanthropic community to more actively recognize and respond constructively to the immense generosity and giving power of African American communities.  New-York based A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities (ABFE) encourages giving in and to Black communities and advocates for diversity and inclusion in the philanthropic sphere.

The maltreatment of Black people in philanthropy needs to be addressed both systemically and between individuals. Legacies of disenfranchisement systematically still obstruct Black wealth accumulation. Philanthropy, with its considerable flexibility and power to make change, can only be truly revolutionary and impactful once it makes room at the table for Black donors. Furthermore, the philanthropic community needs to recognize the outsized generosity of Black donors who’ve long earned the privilege of setting the table and the terms for grantmaking.

Read the full article about African-American philanthropy by Jade Eckels at Medium.