Photo Credit: Michael Giladi/Flash90
Volunteers pack food boxes for families in need ahead of the Jewish holidays, September 2, 2021.

The study, American Jewish Philanthropy 2022: Giving to Religious and Secular Causes in the US and to Israel, from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Ruderman Family Foundation, is one of the first major reports on Jewish giving trends in America in the past decade, issued at a time when, according to the ADL, antisemitic incidents in the US have increased 388% over the same period in the previous year.

According to the new study, co-authored by Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim, Ph.D., and Jon Bergdoll, experiences with and concerns about antisemitism in the US were linked to significantly higher levels of giving in 2022. Respondents who personally experienced antisemitism or have someone in their household who experienced it gave more to all causes.


Younger generations — Generation X and Millennials (including Generation Z adults) — had both the highest participation rates in giving to Israel-focused organizations and the highest mean amounts given to Israel-focused organizations. The generation with the highest donation rate to Israel-focused organizations that year was Gen X (ages 43-58, at 27%), followed closely by Millennials and younger generations (ages 18-42, at 25%). Among all those surveyed who reported ever giving to an Israel-focused organization, more people recalled making such a gift in 2022 than recalled doing so in 2013.

Higher charitable giving by donors who had experiences with antisemitism was not limited to supporting religious organizations, as American Jewish donors who had experienced antisemitism gave over six times as much to non-religious institutions and organizations than donors who had not. Concern about antisemitism was also related to more giving: those who reported being very concerned about antisemitism gave at higher rates (80%, versus 53% among those who said they were not at all concerned); and gave over five times more than the average of those who said they are unconcerned about antisemitism.

Orthodox Jews reported that they have experienced antisemitism at significantly higher levels than other Jewish respondents. Thirty percent of respondents with children under 18 at home experienced antisemitism, compared with 17% of those with no children under 18 at home. Those located in the Western US experienced more antisemitism at 28% compared with 20% in the Midwest, 20% in the South, and 15% in the Northeast.

“Given how the rising threat posed by antisemitism has been a prominent concern for the American Jewish community not only during the current war in Israel but in the years immediately preceding it, we believe that our study’s findings present key insights that can inform the organized Jewish community’s activities in both the short- and long-term future,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“Given our foundation’s core mission to expand and share knowledge through the publication of comprehensive research as well as to model the practice of strategic philanthropy, we are proud to partner with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on a report that promises to broaden the general public’s understanding of Jewish giving in America,” Ruderman noted.

The study examines American Jewish giving and volunteering across demographics and Jewish denominations during 2022, including motivational factors affecting Jewish households and changes to their environments. It explores giving to local and national causes, to Israel-focused organizations, congregations, religiously-identified organizations, and secular organizations, reflecting the diversity of the Jewish giving landscape.

The study is based on a survey of 3,115 households (two-thirds Jewish, one-third non-Jewish) conducted in March 2023.

One in four Jewish households in the US reported giving to charitable organizations specifically related to Israel-focused causes, the study found. Among those who gave to Israel-related causes and organizations, the average gift was $2,467 per donor household.

While Jewish and non-Jewish households gave at similar rates (74% and 72%, respectively), Jewish households gave a greater amount. The average gift size given by Jewish and non-Jewish donor households differed by over $2,500, or 32% ($10,588 donated versus $8,025, respectively). Furthermore, concerning donations specifically to non-religious organizations and causes, Jewish households were more likely to give to non-religious causes than non-Jewish households (67% vs. 59%). All of these differences, however, were not statistically significant when controlling for household demographics like income and education.

“Jewish Americans’ strong commitment to generosity is reflected in this study’s findings about the breadth and depth of their philanthropic engagement within and beyond their communities. Their philanthropy, faith, and culture are tightly interwoven; Jewish households that self-identified as more religious gave more, including to secular causes, than those who identify as less religious,” said Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., Executive Associate Dean Emeritus of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “We are pleased to partner with the Ruderman Family Foundation to provide new insights that will advance understanding of these important aspects of US philanthropy.”

Overall, more than four-fifths of older-generation Jewish households (83% of people “older than Boomers” and 84% of Boomers) were donors to any charity, compared to almost three-fourths (74%) of Gen-Xers and almost two-thirds (64%) of Millennials and younger generations. The cause that received the largest donation from the average donor was Jewish congregations. Jewish households’ most frequently supported causes related to basic needs, healthcare, Jewish congregations, organizations with combined purposes, and education.


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