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New study shows communities with class privilege are stepping up to redistribute their wealth

The act of redistributing wealth is a powerful tool for community change — and a recent study, the 2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households, confirms that wealthy families are as committed as ever to creating equitable and thriving communities. Of the 1,626 households surveyed with annual income of at least $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1 million (not counting a primary residence), 88% gave to at least one charity in 2020. Indeed, average giving by this demographic grew to $43,195 from $29,269—a 48% increase—between 2017 and 2020.

The issues themselves are shifting, too. For example, more than 20% of affluent households supported social and racial justice causes, and impact investing nearly doubled, during the period covered by the study.

Affluent philanthropists are becoming more vocal about the challenges they face when making charitable giving decisions, in particular:

  • Figuring out what causes they care about and where to make donations to support those causes (40%)
  • Figuring out a charitable giving budget and how much they can afford to give (32%)
  • Figuring out how to measure the results of their giving to be sure it’s making a difference (24%)

What most affluent households are not worried about, however, according to the study, are potential changes to the income tax rules. Indeed, 78% say their giving levels would stay the same or even increase if they could not deduct contributions. 

Notably, diverse donors and younger donors are beginning to prefer structured giving vehicles, such as donor advised funds, over direct giving to operating charities.

At Brooklyn Community Foundation, we are committed to partnering with donors to deepen their commitment to causes they care about:

  • Donor advisors of funds at Brooklyn Community Foundation benefit from our long-standing relationships in the borough’s nonprofit landscape and our in-depth knowledge of racial equity and justice
  • Our Donor Advised Fund Portal is an easy to use online platform that helps our donor advisors support the causes they care about, making it simple to access their fund balance and submit grant requests 
  • Our donor services team is ready and available to provide philanthropic advising to our donor advisors, helping them reach their charitable goals in Brooklyn and beyond

To learn more about donor advised funds and how they can help you or your clients give with intention, contact our Donor Services team at

Are you an individual interested in learning more about our DAF program, and other ways you can invest in local communities? Join us for our upcoming virtual workshop, Your Guide to Giving in Brooklyn, on Wednesday, November 10th at 12pm EST. Learn more and RSVP here.

Pictured above: 2019 Spark Prize winner Red Hook Community Justice Center

Jenny Walski

Vice President of Donor Engagement (She/Her/Hers)
Diverse donors and younger donors are beginning to prefer structured giving vehicles, such as donor advised funds, over direct giving to operating charities.