Faith and Giving

How are the two related?

What is the relationship between having a faith affiliation, and charitable giving? As an organization with a vested interest in both areas, we’re constantly trying to better understand that dynamic. That’s why a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (click here to view the article) got our attention. According to a recent Pew Research Center report cited in the article, people with a faith affiliation are more than twice as likely as those without, to be involved with a charitable organization. And as the number of those who claim no faith affiliation rises in the U.S., that has profound implications for the nonprofits who depend heavily on community contributions.

So, what’s that dynamic look like in the Tri-State? Last year, the Foundation commissioned a custom research survey by the Barna Group to answer that and other related questions. What we learned was that only about 11% of our community claims no faith affiliation. By contrast, 83% of those surveyed self-identify as a member of the Christian faith. Within that group, 85% have donated to churches or other nonprofits in the last 12 months. That compares to only 57% of non-Christians who have donated over the same time period. Moreover, the average amount of Christian donations in the Tri-State is more than double the national average.

For the record, the Foundation’s grantmaking spans a wide array of both secular and faith-based organizations. But we’ll continue to seek out worthwhile opportunities to assist Christian nonprofits, as well…because as they succeed in sharing the good news of the gospel, it just might prove to also be good news for the donor profile of our community.

The Foundation’s Christ Centered Living grant cycle is now open for interested 501 (c) 3 organizations to apply. More details can be found at: