Arts philanthropy of America’s rich holds strong

Posted on: November 10, 2010

Tuesday (11/9) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster, Mike Boehm writes, “In their ‘Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy,’ Bank of America and Merrill Lynch found that households with incomes of $200,000 or more, or net worths of at least $1 million (not counting a primary home’s value) devoted 7.5 cents out of their charitable dollar to the arts during 2009, compared to a penny for the population at large. Nearly three out of four wealthy households gave to the arts; for the general population it was just over one in thirteen. The disparities between the wealthy and the rank and file were considerably greater for the arts than for any of the other nine categories covered by the study, which was conducted by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy and reported earlier Tuesday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. … Looking at the four-year arc of the study, the arts feasted on their richest patrons’ donations in 2005, when the average wealthy household gave $17,498 inflation-adjusted dollars; arts groups had to get by on table scraps in 2007, when average giving fell to $4,958, but they enjoyed a more decent meal in 2009, thanks to an 11.6% increase, to $5,531. Of the ten categories, the arts finished fifth in 2009, up from seventh in 2007.” The other categories were (in order) education, religious charities, youth and family services, “other,” “combination” charities, international giving, health, environment/animal care, and basic needs.

Posted November 10, 2010