New study explores philanthropic views, practices of Muslims in the U.S.
Muslim Americans are vibrant contributors to philanthropy in the United States, according to a new report released today by the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.
Muslim American Giving 2021 finds that, on average, Muslim Americans give more to charity than non-Muslim Americans. Muslim Americans reported contributing an average of $3,200 for charitable giving compared to the average of $1,905 reported by non-Muslims in the study. Muslim Americans also gave a higher average dollar amount for both faith-based causes and non-faith-based causes than non-Muslims.
The survey of 2,005 Muslims and non-Muslims in the U.S. asked about faith customs; views, motivations, decision making and practices related to charitable giving; volunteering, financial well-being; and discrimination. The report was funded by Islamic Relief USA.
“Muslim Americans are stepping up to play an important role in making our world and nation better despite facing prejudice, greater scrutiny and having fewer resources. Yet there is a lack of data-driven research about Muslim giving in the U.S. Given the centrality of giving in Muslim communities and the vital role religious giving plays in philanthropy more broadly, it is important to better understand how and why American Muslims give,” said Shariq Siddiqui, assistant professor of philanthropic studies and director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Among the survey’s key findings:
- Approximately 85% of Muslim Americans’ giving supports U.S. charitable causes, while about 15% of their giving is focused on international causes.
- Muslim Americans contribute an average of 27.5% of their faith-based charity to houses of worship.
- Civil rights, domestic relief and COVID-19 relief were also priorities for Muslim-American giving identified in the survey.
- Muslim Americans who are 40-49 years of age reported the highest average charitable giving.
- The strongest motivation American Muslims reported for their giving was a feeling of compassion toward people in need.
"We have always known that American-Muslims are exceedingly generous and philanthropic. Charity is a central pillar in the Islamic faith and deeply entrenched into our way of life," said Sharif Aly, chief executive officer of Islamic Relief USA. "The recent study from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy only confirms our experience with a dedicated community of generous donors and further highlights the significant contributions that Muslims have made towards bettering society, both at home and abroad."
About the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative
The Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI focuses on understanding and helping further enhance contemporary and traditional aspects of Muslim philanthropy in all its facets. A project of the Dean and Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, it convenes scholars and philanthropy professionals to explore issues and research in the field, hosts symposiums and seminars, and provides education and training. By seeking to further research in this under-studied area, helping to develop thought leadership and inform conversations, and training philanthropic and nonprofit leaders within Muslim philanthropy, the initiative helps build capacity in the Muslim philanthropy sector while adding to the body of knowledge about the rich tradition and practice of philanthropy in Islam.
About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI 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 undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram and “Like” us on Facebook.
About Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States. Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.