Faiths occupies most mind space of BRICS philanthropists in the U.S., a new study reveals

theresourceallianceThe Resource Alliance — A new study into the giving habits of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) diaspora communities in the United States reveals they’re more philanthropically conscious than ever before, and give regularly to faith-based institutions both in their home and adopted countries.

Making a World of Difference: How BRICS Diaspora Give is a new report written by Nidhi Raj Kapoor and published by the Resource Alliance, a global network for fundraisers and philanthropists. The study is based on focus interviews with 75 individuals (15 from each country) from a diverse range of professions, ages and geographic regions.

The U.S.-based BRICS diaspora are generous and represent a valuable resource of religious and philanthropic funding, many of which are devoted to religious organizations. With the exception of Russian Americans, most BRICS diaspora members give regularly to faith-based groups.

The study further reveals that, among the BRICS diaspora surveyed, religious participation, religious service attendance and membership within a congregation are both positively associated with philanthropic activity in their communities, and increases the amount of time and money devoted to both religious and secular causes, such as disaster relief, education, healthcare and human rights.

This insight bears particular significance in light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service — a national holiday on 20th January.

Key findings from the study include:

  • 100 percent of Brazilian Americans surveyed give to faith-based groups on a continuous basis
  • Indian and Brazilian Americans give both to religious bodies back home and in the U.S., while the Chinese give mostly to religious organizations in the U.S.
  • Many see donations not as philanthropy, but as a way of being closer to God. They’re also aware and supportive of philanthropic activity carried out by religious organizations.

Other key trends revealed by the study include:

  • Emergency disaster relief is the No. 1 cause supported by BRICS diaspora, followed by education.
  • Giving is chiefly emotional rather than strategic, but younger givers think differently and are more influenced by western-style philanthropy.
  • Volunteering is on the rise. Those who volunteer give more money to charity than those who don’t – but charities hardly ever approach them for these resources

Nidhi Raj Kapoor, author of Making a World of Difference, says: “Faith and family occupy the most mind space of BRICS diaspora communities in the U.S. Charity and volunteering are on the rise, and this active community takes a keen interest in both local and global religious issues. Membership in a congregation tends to embed a donor further in the community, thereby increasing opportunities for charitable giving.”

Neelam Makhijani, chief executive of the Resource Alliance, says: “This study advances our understanding of the efforts made by BRICS diaspora population in the United States to contribute to their BRICS countries.communities and to the causes of the wider world. Together, these diaspora communities play a significant role in shaping the philanthropic landscape in the U.S. Religious institutions should value their loyalty and look to new opportunities for outreach and collaboration.”


BRICS is an acronym of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. They are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. As of 2013, the five BRICS countries represent almost three billion people with a combined GDP of US$14.8 trillion and an estimated US$4 trillion in combined foreign reserves.

Nidhi Raj Kapoor is an Indian journalist who is based in the U.S. She has served as Director of Communications for the American India Foundation, as Head of Communications for HelpAge India, India’s largest age care charity, and is currently working on philanthropic initiatives in the Indo-U.S. corridor.

The Resource Alliance is a charity registered in England and Wales, based in London. It aims to be the global network for fundraising, resource mobilisation and philanthropy.


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