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More research and data please!

November 27, 2010

Here’s an email I just sent to the organizers of a conference on research and data about ethnic communities in the United States, hosted by the Department of Education:

Hi [  ],

I saw your name in the Fall 2010 Newsletter of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders.  I am very interested in the findings of the conference on research and data.  In particular, I am co-founder of the South Asian Philanthropy Project, an initiative to inspire increased giving and volunteering among South Asians in North America.

One of the issues we face on a regular basis is the lack of research and data on philanthropic patterns of South Asians (and Asian Americans more generally).  There are some existing data sets that may have some information but no one has systematically studied these issues.  The need for such data is great – it will help inform our ethnic communities and the broader community about our contributions to society, our rate of charitable giving, and our service.  There are a lot of assumptions and anecdotal pieces of evidence out there by which nonprofit managers, fundraisers, foundation grant officers, and individual donors themselves make important decisions about philanthropy.  More accurate research and data is essential.

I hope this email finds its way to the conference organizers and I would love to hear about the outcomes of the conference.

I’ll let you all know what I hear.  One of the most common email inquiries we get here at SAPP is around this issue – do we know how much South Asians give?  What do they give to?  Do they give here or abroad?  Unfortunately, while we have our theories, we just don’t know for sure until there is more research on these issues and other important ones facing our community around philanthropy.

One Comment leave one →
  1. asridhar permalink*
    December 14, 2010 1:45 am

    I received a great email from the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders in response to my query. They pledged to keep in mind the “special and unique characteristics of the South Asian community” as they think about the use and disaggregation of data at the various agencies. Also, the videos and evaluations from the conference mentioned above should be available on their website later this week:
    – Archana

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