‘Tis Better to Give–Strategically

African Americans are charitable by nature, ever mindful of the trials we’ve endured to get to where we are, grateful that we’ve overcome, and eager to make our path to a better life just a little easier for others to follow. Not surprisingly, this impulse is even more pronounced now, during our traditional season of giving.

In study after study, African Americans have proved to be generous givers — usually donating a higher proportion of our discretionary income to charitable causes than whites. Yet too many of our institutions, too many of the causes committed to improving the quality of life and opportunity for African Americans, go wanting in the absence of adequate support from the very people they are dedicated to serving.

Our problem is not a lack of generosity but a lack of forethought, not a lack of resources but a lack of stewardship over the resources we have. Too many of us have adopted the habit of giving in a reactive fashion, depending upon which cause, friend, or relative happens to do the best job of appealing to our compassion or sense of obligation — or of catching us when we have some extra cash on hand. Aside from the practice of tithing — contributing 10% of one’s income to the church — most giving by African Americans is neither planned nor documented, so our charitable dollars are less focused and less effective.

Worse, because we do not make our charitable contributions part of the larger financial plan tied to our wealth-building objectives (including tax strategies), we often end up with little or no income for intentional, strategic giving. When we fail to include charitable giving as a line item in our personal or family budgets, we spend (or in the frenzy of holiday shopping, overspend) money we could have earmarked for the causes we believe in. That lack of planning also deprives us of the chance to find more effective and imaginative ways to make a difference through our giving, or even to think through what causes our giving should be directed toward from year to year. In order to establish and maintain multigenerational wealth, we must focus our charitable impulses on the causes and institutions critical to the growth, health, and advancement of our community.

This holiday season, let’s break the cycle of undisciplined giving. Work with a financial adviser who can help you build charitable donations into your total budget. Make tithing at your church the floor, not the ceiling, of your annual giving. Also, sow seeds into the institutions — including historically black colleges and universities; local charities focused on health, education, career training, and entrepreneurship; and advocacy groups such as the NAACP and the Urban League — that meet vital needs in our community. Look into options such as donor-advised funds, charitable remainder trusts, and giving circles. And don’t forget to budget for contributions to the campaigns of the political candidates you believe in. Now is the time to make a difference through planned, strategic giving.

It is up to each and

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  • adri

    Hello, may i please have a few minutes of your time. thank you im a 34yr old mother of 3 children latina i was searching for help and came across your web i felt that i might have a second change to regain my joy and dreams in gods eyes were all the same i hope that your charity will be bring hope to my children and i to a positive and stronger living after 12yr of being a supported wife to a man that was ungreatful and selfish to me after i dedicated to stand by him in bad time i`ve payed lawyers 2 differents trials and won the cases me thinking in our future and how much i wanted to give my children a happy family together and buy a home with swiming pool my kids love pools, all this wasted yrs so he could walk out on us and live with someone else throughing our dreams aways like nothing to him ,but to us he meant the world we`have been so sad living in our memories my children wishing for a time machine to bring daddy home,but now he’s back in jail and this time im doing for myself and children i`’m a CNA state lic.but its been so hard looking for a job no money for transportation i been to the work source asking them for bus token in the past yr in a half to go look for employment its been hard i’ve even had to cleans peoples homes despretly to be able to get my children gifts on bithdays/holidays hoping and telling them this yr will be better mommy will have a job i dont want my children to loose hope in me ,i some times feel so hopeless but just here them say mommy we love you its going to be ok breaks my heart that so special and beautyful children i was bless with and im worth less not being able to provide a happy home or buy what hey wish for this past sad yrs help me gain a positive life style with out a father i feel im stronger than him because i never gave up on him or the obsticals that cross my path life just made me stronger women not walking out on my children even in the hardest ruff times i thank god for my parents help giving us shelter