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August 17, 2021

Despite a racial wealth gap, Black households are still donating to the causes they care about

Black Cincinnatians have a long and storied tradition of carving out space for and investing in their communities – creating economic opportunity where there was none.

One such Cincinnatian was Wendell P. Dabney. He was the first president of the local chapter of the NAACP. In 1907, Dabney began publishing The Union, one of the nation’s first Black newspapers. He used his paper to advocate for the interests of Black Americans until its final edition in 1952.

Though citizens like Dabney created opportunity; the racial wealth gap remains. This gap, created by systemic racism, results in cycles of struggle for Black families. In 2016, White household wealth was seven times greater than Black household wealth (Urban Institute).

Despite this financial gap, Black philanthropists are still donating their time and resources to the causes they care about. Black households give 25% more of their income annually than White households, according to a report by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

​”Nearly two-thirds of African American households donate to organizations and causes, to the tune of $11 billion each year. Indeed, aggregate charitable giving by African Americans is increasing at a faster rate than either their aggregate income or aggregate wealth,” the report states.

By the numbers (based on GCF’s 2018 Giving Black Cincinnati Report):

  • 77% of survey respondents who live on the east side of Greater Cincinnati find that economic equity is a critical issue that has been overlooked by Cincinnati’s philanthropic community.
  • According to the Federal Reserve System, in a 2019 survey, White families have the highest levels of both median and mean family wealth: $188,200 and $983,400, respectively. Black families’ median and mean wealth is less than 15% of White families’, at $24,100 and $142,500, respectively.
  • Only 11% of Black donors believe Cincinnati is a place where Blacks can thrive economically.

Interested in learning more about Black wealth building? Join GCF for a virtual panel discussion on August 25 from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Contact Samantha Lane at samantha.lane@gcfdn.org with questions.