Three out of four households in Puerto Rico give to charity
SAN JUAN – Three out of every four households in Puerto Rico (74.9%) reported making charitable donations in 2014, a significantly higher rate when compared with the U.S. mainland’s 2013 numbers, which reflect that 55.8% of households donated to charity, according to a study commissioned by the Flamboyán Foundation.
The “Giving in Puerto Rico” study examines charitable giving patterns, priorities and attitudes of Puerto Rican households when donating.
“The findings offer the first scientific base for giving in Puerto Rican households. It confirms what we already know… that we in Puerto Rico are very generous. ‘Giving in Puerto Rico’ also provides an understanding of giving so we can start thinking about being more effective as philanthropists during this time of great need,” said Guiomar García, executive director of the Flamboyán Foundation.
The study revealed that a large percentage of the households participating in the study had limited knowledge about philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, with 67% of them admitting to know very little about either. Only one-third of the people interviewed could name at least three nonprofits operating on the island. But despite their lack of knowledge, Puerto Rican households donated an average of $285 in 2014, while high-net-worth households (earn $150,000 more than a year and/or have over $1 million in net assets) donated an average of $1,171.
Puerto Ricans’ donations are mainly intended to cover basic needs, support religious causes, improve healthcare, supplement youth/family services and/or a combination of these.
Study participants were also asked to name what they considered to be the most important issues affecting the island. The three most pressing social issues for Puerto Ricans were education, healthcare and the economy.
“This study shows a gap between what households identify as pressing issues and the areas they actually donate to. Our goal is to spur a broad discussion that provokes each and every one of us to question what we contribute, how we do it and how we can increase our impact,” Flamboyán cofounder Vadim Nikitine said.
For Félix Villamil, chairman of the Community Education, Dedication and Service Program (Peces by its Spanish acronym) nonprofits are making significant contributions to Puerto Rican society, but the public isn’t very aware of them. Villamil urged the organizations to publicize their their efforts and achievements, saying it would not only result in greater visibility, but also increased donations and resources.