Only two percent of Americans are Jewish, yet Jews are the dominant donors to causes that are both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Jews donate regardless of their overall income. 60 percent of Jewish households earning less than $50,000 a year donate, compared to the national average of 46 percent of people in that income bracket. 76 percent of American Jews gave donated to charity in 2012, compared to 63 percent of Americans in that same year.
An average Jewish household donates $2,526 annually, more than Protestants;$1,746, and more than Catholics; $1,142.
Data strongly suggests that American Jews are more generous due to their education and overall wealth.
On average, Jews have more schooling – an average of 13 years of schooling, and Jews are in higher income brackets with 44 percent of Jewish households earning more than $100,000 a year, the most for any major ethno-religious community.
The Rambam wrote a thesis on giving tzedaka known as the ‘eight degrees’. At the lowest level, donors give grudgingly. At the highest, they help people in need become self-sustaining.
Jews often give as a community. There are approximately 150 Jewish Federations, in addition to thousands of Jewish community foundations, family and corporate foundations. These various philanthropic efforts give more than $9 billion every year to charitable causes.
Many of these U.S. and Canadian institutions actually give more to non-Jewish causes than to Jewish ones. Only approximately 25 percent goes to Jewish causes. Philanthropy that benefits the Jewish community is becoming less popular than charity serving other communities.
The donations go to support social, welfare, educational, health, research, science, advocacy, and art, cultural and environmental causes. Donations support tens of thousands of local and international nonprofits serving a wide range of ethnic and religious communities in Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere.
Notably, $142 million gift from George Kaiser to the Tulsa River Parks Authority in 2014. Billionaire Stephen Schwarzman sent a $150 million donation to Yale University in 2015.