NEW YORK (JTA) – More Jews give to non-Jewish causes than Jewish causes, and Jews overall are more generous givers than non-Jews, according to a new survey.
The study, called Connected to Give, found that 76 percent of American Jews reported a charitable contribution in 2012, compared to 63 percent among non-Jewish Americans. The median annual giving rate among Jews was $1,200, double that of non-Jews.
Among Jews who give charity, 92 percent of those surveyed gave to a non-Jewish organization and 79 percent gave to a Jewish organization. Additionally, 21 percent gave only to non-Jewish organizations and 4 percent gave only to Jewish organizations.
The findings are based on a survey of 3,000 Jewish households and 2,000 non-Jewish households. The study was spearheaded by Jumpstart, a Jewish charity research group, and funded by an array of Jewish foundations and organizations.
The most significant determinant of American Jewish generosity is the degree of engagement with the Jewish community, according to the study. Those who reported more Jewish connections — such as attending religious services, having Jewish friends, being married to a Jew — were more likely to give to charity, and not just Jewish charities.
“Conventional wisdom says that fundraising from Jewish donors is a zero-sum competition, with Jewish and secular causes fighting over smaller pieces of a shrinking pie,” said Shawn Landres, Jumpstart’s co-founder. “Connected to Give challenges that assumption and shows us that the stronger a person’s Jewish community connections, the more she or he gives to all causes, and the larger the pie becomes.”
Younger Jews are less likely to give to Jewish causes, according to the study: 49 percent of non-Orthodox Jews aged 18-39 gave to a Jewish group in 2012, compared to 62 percent of those 40 and older.