How Racism Still Affects Colored Millionaires: A Report Business

When philanthropist Mona Sinha entered her first meeting on the museum’s advisory board, she immediately noticed that she was the youngest in the room and the only colored person. Instead of being a new colleague, members of the advisory board asked her if she was a fundraiser for the museum. Such experiences often make colored people feel unwelcome in charity.

Sinha says the emotional loss of work among predominantly white people has pushed many wealthy people of color away from seeking leadership roles in charities. “For many people, I believe that discrimination over the years has damaged their self-esteem so much that it is very difficult to claim the position,” she said.

A new qualitative study of 113 color millionaires found that almost all experienced racial or ethnic bias. “It’s so obvious, but it’s also very deep,” says co-author Hali Lee, co-founder of Radiant Strategies and co-founder of Donors of Color Network. She says the findings show how racism has affected the lives of color millionaires, from where they raise their families to the people and businesses they support.

The study was published Wednesday by Donors of Color Network, a member organization for wealthy philanthropists from marginalized backgrounds, as well as two consulting firms, Radiant Strategies and Vaid Group. From 2016 to 2018, Lee and the research team traveled to 10 U.S. cities to conduct 90-minute conversations with color donors who had $ 1 million and more in cash. The result, the authors say, is a “quality picture” rather than a representative sample.

“Coloring people who donate put on the table a different set of priorities from their own life experiences,” said co-author Urvashi Vaid, co-founder of the color donors network and president of the Vaid group. She says it is changing both the charity agenda and what is possible for the nonprofits they support.

Wade points to the contribution of donors to social and racial justice from 2015 to 2017, when researchers asked donors about their donations. Donors have contributed both cases to the top five of their charity priorities. Education was the most popular business, with just over 65 percent named it a priority. More than 44 percent said social justice was the main cause, followed by women and gender rights by nearly 40 percent and racial justice by more than 36 percent.

“The recent rise in racial justice has been predetermined in our data,” Weid says. “It’s a community that has given – strongly.”

The co-authors say that interviews with rich people of color in the new report draw a direct line from the personal experiences of donors – higher education, racism and the fight against economic inequality – to their charitable priorities.

Among the donors surveyed for the study, there is a striking similarity. Many said that parents brought up in them respect for donations and helping others, and most also said that they ran their charity without the help of a professional charity counselor. Moreover, interviews highlighted how rich color donors have good connections, especially because of membership in fraternities, women’s societies or community organizations, Lee says.

Another commonality among the donors surveyed: more than 65 percent were self-made millionaires. Nearly 78 percent of donors surveyed said they helped relatives and friends cover living and education expenses, provided emergency financial support and helped pay for weddings, among other expenses, the year before their interview.

“It will always be my priority,” says Eric Fuller, an engineer and philanthropist from Auckland, California. His family knows he is a donor to organizations involved in education, housing and criminal justice reform, especially in his home Bay area. . But it is also important for him to know that they can count on his financial support.

Nonprofits need to understand the commitments of color millionaires who have made their own, in addition to their charitable goals, says Ashindi Maxton, co-founder of the Donors of Color network and co-author of the report.

“If you’re a Sierra club, you’re not competing with the National Wildlife Refuge, you’re actually competing with someone’s aunt or cousin,” Maxton says. While donors may want to support a new nonprofit program, they may also need to help a friend pay the water bill or teach their nephew in college.

Fundraising can have a tunnel vision when it comes to identifying new donors, finding new supporters who are similar to their current ones. But when they’re not looking for color donors, they leave a lot of money and connections on the table, Fuller says.

Donors surveyed for the study made an average annual contribution of $ 87,500 to charities, political campaigns, houses of worship, and family and friends. The largest share of donors in the report – about 30 percent – said they contributed $ 50,000 or less a year to these beneficiaries. More than 20 percent said they give more than $ 300,000 a year, and 55 percent of them estimated their annual cash aid at $ 1 million.

One way for nonprofits to build relationships with these donors is to hire color fundraisers, Maxton says. If they don’t, fundraising is likely to be linked mostly to white donors.

It’s natural that people find it easiest to connect with people like them, Maxton says.

“You’re going to connect with people like those who are members of your team,” she says. “If you don’t change the bodies in your organization, if you don’t really have that kind of experience in your organization, it’s going to be hard for you to make those connections.”

It’s also important for nonprofit groups to test their bias, Lee says. Over and over again, she says, donors told her about fundraisers who believed their homes would not be big enough to host the event or that they didn’t know other wealthy people who could support their cause.

Sinha, a philanthropist, puts it this way: “As a color donor, we often face the same hurdles as many of our grants.”

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