Three out of four households in Puerto Rico (74.9 percent) report making charitable donations in 2014, a high rate of giving, especially compared to similar data in the U.S. which shows 55.8 percent of mainland U.S. households giving to charity in 2013.
This finding comes from the first study of its kind to examine charitable giving patterns, priorities, and attitudes of Puerto Rican households. Giving in Puerto Rico is the result of a collaboration among Flamboyan Foundation (Flamboyan), the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Kinesis Foundation. The publication was presented Wednesday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center to a select group of nonprofit organization leaders, donors, corporate executives, academics, and other individuals committed to philanthropy.
“The findings offer the first scientific base for giving in Puerto Rican households. It confirms what we already know, that we in Puerto Rico are very generous. Giving in Puerto Rico also provides an understanding of giving so we can start thinking about being more effective as philanthropists during this time of great need,” said Guiomar García Guerra, Ph.D., executive director of Flamboyan.
Flamboyan commissioned the research project to establish baseline information about giving in Puerto Rico that can be benchmarked against data from the mainland U.S., such as from the Philanthropy Panel Study and the U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy.
“Now that we have comparative data prepared by experts in the field, as nonprofit leaders we can promote Puerto Rico’s needs in philanthropic circles in the U.S. and internationally,” stated Kristin Ehrgood, co-founder and President of the Board of Flamboyan.
Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, noted, “We see an opportunity in Puerto Rico to increase formal giving, since a large part of donations are informal in nature, such as helping a stranger, a neighbor, a friend or relative.”
A large percentage of survey respondents indicated they had limited knowledge about philanthropy and nonprofits. This contrasts with the finding that the more people know about philanthropy, the higher the average amount of money they tend to donate.
The survey also asked what respondents considered the most important issues in society today. Vadim Nikitine, co-founder of Flamboyan and current board member, said, “This study shows a gap between what households identify as pressing issues, and the areas they actually donate to. Our goal is to spur a broad discussion that provokes each and every one of us to question to what we contribute, how we do it and how we can increase our impact.”
Puerto Rican households donated an average of $285 in 2014; high net worth households donated an average of $1,171. No matter what the specific dollar amount given by any one household, a huge difference could be achieved by individuals taking action for the collective good.
1) Three out of four households in Puerto Rico report giving.
2) The average amount donated in 2014 was $285 while the average amount given by high net worth households was $1,171.
3) The top five reasons cited for giving were: giving back to the community; giving spontaneously in response to a specific need; giving because you believe that your gift can make a difference; giving because you desire to set an example for future generations; and giving when you are asked to donate.
4) The top three areas that received donations in 2014 were: basic needs; religion; and health.
5) The top three social issue priorities were: education; health care; and the economy.
6) 53 percent of the population prefers to donate to organizations in Puerto Rico that focus on local issues.
7) The majority of individuals, 67 percent, say they know very little about philanthropy and nonprofits.
8) Only one-third of those interviewed could name three nonprofit organizations and 11 percent could not name a single one.
9) Seven out of 10 people report giving informally.
10) A significant majority, 75 percent, were unaware of major changes made to the Puerto Rico tax code that impact the potential tax benefits of charitable giving.
* Results are for the general population households unless otherwise noted.
Data for this study were gathered by surveying 847 households during 2015, of which 95 met the criteria to be considered high net worth (defined as households with an annual income of at least $150,000 and/or net assets of $1 million, excluding their primary residence). A representative sample of all households in all geographic areas of Puerto Rico and all income levels was selected. In addition, the sample is highly reliable in comparison with that of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Puerto Rico Community Survey.
About Flamboyan Foundation
Flamboyan believes that ultimately, people solve problems. To solve complex societal challenges, they need strategic support and impact-driven best practices and tools. We work at the intersection of education, government, business, strategic philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector, equipping leaders, teachers, and community members to improve educational outcomes for children through catalytic, results-driven collaboration. Flamboyan is a private family foundation based in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The School offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research, and international programs, and through the Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
About Kinesis Foundation
Kinesis Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization with the mission to improve Puerto Rico’s global competitiveness helping talented Puerto Rican youth overcome socioeconomic barriers and achieve excellence at the highest academic levels. Since 2004, Kinesis Foundation has worked toward its mission with three main programs: Scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students attending top colleges in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and abroad, Bright Stars College Access Program for middle and high school students, and Continuing Education for school counselors and other professionals.