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Devin D. Thorpe

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Surge In Philanthropy From African-Americans As Demographics Shift

Press Release – WASHINGTON D.C. – As the ethnic makeup of America changes, the face of philanthropy is changing dramatically. The role of African-Americans in philanthropy is not only keeping pace but exceeding expectations when it comes to giving.

This will be one of the major topics of exploration in this year’s Non-Profit Thursdays in Washington, D.C. The Beltway gathering on Thursday, March 2 brings together an exclusive group of top Executive Directors and CEO’s of America’s $3 million-dollar a year plus charitable organizations to explore how to successfully fund-raise based upon the latest data.

Bank of America – Merrill Lynch is the sponsor of Non-Profit Thursdays, which was created by Philanthropic expert M. Gasby Brown , CEO and Co-Founder of the newly created Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (BPC), the nation’s largest full service African-American owned fundraising firm.

The rise of an African American/Women owned firm like BPC shows how the realities of philanthropy have truly changed,” says Reggie Van Lee, a celebrated philanthropist, Fortune 1000 former executive and winner of New York University’s C. Walter Nichols Award for community service. “Looking at the Study, I am excited to see the hard data matching what we have observed in the Black community for many years.

Bridge Philanthropic Consulting’s subject for Non-Profit Thursday is “The 2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy Unpacked”: ‘How to use it to raise money!'” – but a special emphasis will be on the new data regarding African-American High Net Worth Giving and a discussion on High Net Worth Philanthropy in general with special guest Erin Hogan, Vice President, U.S. Trust.

“The 2016 U.S. Trust and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy provide a profile of High Net Worth philanthropy in the African American community. This a first and we welcome the information!” says M. Gasby Brown, CEO and co-founder of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting. Non-profit heads will receive expert advice on how to work with the unique trends and challenges faced by charities seeking major gifts. Brown is also a faculty member of the renowned The Fund Raising School at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Overall, there are a lot of reasons for optimism for non-profits as U.S. demographics shift. As far back as 2003 it has been documented that African-American households give 25% more of their discretionary income to philanthropic activities than Whites and the “2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy” suggests that those figures increase as community members join the ranks of the wealthy.

There is also an unbroken legacy in the Black church of giving tithes and offerings that has instilled a sense of organic philanthropy in the African American community. African-Americans who attend church are 25% more likely to give than their peers who don’t attend church services. “I became involved in philanthropy through a family tradition that goes back to the church,” says Dwayne Ashley, the other Co-Founder and President of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, “my great grandmother was a mid-wife. When families could not pay her they often gave her portions of their land which she in turn donated to create one of first black schools in Heflin, Louisiana. Eventually, the school became a church where generations of my family and neighbors attend to this day.”

But, while black donors are generous, they do have separate traditions surrounding giving than other ethnic groups. For instance, African-Americans indicated in the “2016 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy” that they are significantly more likely to give at any level if their families have a history of giving. Also, while white donors tend to look to wealth management experts for advice in giving, donations in the African-American community tend to begin with counsel from religious organizations. Peers of givers tend to play a higher role in decision making among African-American philanthropists, as well.

These and other topics connected to the rising tide of African-American philanthropists will be explored at Non-Profit Thursdays on March 2 and promise a snapshot of the field of philanthropy that is shifting even as the ethnic makeup of America becomes more diverse.

The 12- page survey was randomly distributed to 20,000 households in High Net Worth areas of the U.S. Results were based on a nationwide sample of 1400 households worth $1 million or more (excluding the value of their home) and /or a household income of $200,00 or more.

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