News and analysis
April 14, 2015
Updated April 15, 2015

Foundation Support for Black Men and Boys Grows Sharply, Study Says

Tyrone Turner, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Foundations have substantially increased support to causes benefiting black men and boys over the last decade.

Giving for causes benefiting black males more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, according to a new report.

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, released today by the Foundation Center and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, explores grant-making trends for major foundations from 2003 to 2012. In 2012, the latest year for which the data were available, 98 foundations made grants totaling $64.6 million specifically designed to benefit black men and boys, up from $40.4 million in 2011 and $28.6 million in 2010.

Grants to charities that help ethnic minority males and economically disadvantaged males also increased during that time, a portion of which likely benefited black men.

"Momentum has been building on many fronts to address social and racial disparities in our nation, and the time is right to keep pushing forward to improve opportunities for black men and boys," said Shawn Dove, chief executive of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, in a statement. "The role of philanthropy in those efforts is critical."

Philanthropy aimed at minority males has increased in recent years on a number of fronts. To generate more funding dedicated to the issue, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement recently spun off from Open Society Foundations as a separate organization. And in 2013, when more than 40 foundation leaders created the Executives’ Alliance, a group that looks for ways to expand opportunities for young minority males, the White House took note and launched My Brothers Keeper, an effort supported by a dozen foundations.

Though education-related causes typically get the most support, an almost equal proportion of grants in 2012 went toward human-service and public-affairs causes related to black men. The Open Society Foundations, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies gave the most grants designated for such causes in 2012. Half of the top 10 grant recipients are black-led organizations.

The report notes that giving rates for supporting women and girls of color have consistently outpaced those of men, though that trend appears to be leveling off. In 2012, foundations awarded $125 million for activities supporting women and girls of color.

The full report can be downloaded for free at BMAfunders.org.

Editor's note: This story was updated on April 15 to clarify that foundations awarded $125 million in 2012 for activities supporting women and girls of color, not only black women and girls.

Send an email to Eden Stiffman.