An Additional Source of Donors: Communities of Color

One of my goals with New Voices of Philanthropy is to add to new voices and perspectives from the many types of positions and experiences in the field of philanthropy. I've invited Paul Bachleitner to begin contributing to New Voices of Philanthropy. Paul brings his experience as a foundation and nonprofit fundraiser and his new perspective as a philanthropic consultant living and working in New York City. Below is Paul's 1st post:

I was delighted a couple of weeks ago during a visit to Minneapolis when Trista asked whether I would contribute an entry to New Voices of Philanthropy. We had escaped subzero temperatures to a warm coffeehouse and, after catching up on gossip from our lives, the conversation turned to the economic meltdown and is impact on foundations and nonprofits. Although we talked about a number of wonderful ideas to jumpstart fundraising programs (including some really clever ones suggested by Trista that will be implemented at Headwaters soon), I should've brought up one untraditional source that I've spent much time researching not very long ago; communities of color.
Most of the time philanthropy engages communities of color as recipients- of grants, donations, wanted and unwanted advice. Seldom are they engaged as donors. But people from communities of color have much to offer nonprofits and foundations, not least of which is financial contributions. Reports from the Coalition for New Philanthropy and other observers have noted that giving in communities of color has been know to match or surpass national averages for giving. Much of the giving occurs through vehicles outside of traditional philanthropy, such as churches, giving circles, and event-oriented giving.
My research in communities of color has found that there are plenty of capable professionals, business owners, and other leaders who aren't involved in philanthropy simply because few organizations have engaged them. Nonprofits and foundations looking to navigate these difficult economic times can gain a lifeline by asking leaders from communities of color to become members of their boards, to participate in communities and other groups, and to attend community programs or initiative, especially those that invite gifts of time, talent, and money from attendees. Communities of color are a rarely tapped resource that we exclude from our fundraising focus at our own peril.
For further information:
Check out the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers as a great place to start to learn more about giving in communities of color.
A number of foundations have begun to develop successful funds from communities of color, including The Saint Paul Foundation.
The Chicago Community Trust's African American Legacy initiative and Nuestro Futuro initiative for Latino philanthropy.
The 21st Century Foundation, a foundation established to build African American philanthropy, is engaged in a number of great initiatives to promote philanthropy in communities of color.
The Asian Pacific Fund, a foundation established to build Asian American philanthropy is also engaged in a number of initiatives to promote philanthropy in communities of color.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' Cultures of Giving Fund, which was designed to support emerging donor communities to lead, develop, and grow philanthropic resources for community social change causes.
About Paul Bachleitner
Paul Bachleitner is a communications, marketing, and development and fundraising consultant with over eight years' experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and participated in the Association of Black Foundation Executives' National Connecting Leaders Fellowship in the same class as Trista and Jasmine. For more informations, go to or feel free to contact him by email at paul (at)