Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Philanthropy in These Unsettled Times

   Penelope Cagney / CEO The Cagney Company  

Published with permission:

What is the state of philanthropy in these unsettled times? What we know to date is that $11.9 billion was given globally for Covid-19 relief in the first half of 2020 according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. We also know that many funders--individuals, corporations and foundations--changed the way they are doing business. 

-Many leading foundations loosened funding restrictions, and some increased their payouts. More than 775 foundations globally committed to flexible funding in response to Covid-19. As the crisis draws to a close, some foundations will return to former giving restrictions, but others will continue their successful new practices of less funding restrictions and direct payouts. And some foundations will shift their programmatic priorities, giving more to promote social equality and/or justice for instance, and they may retain the new focus.

-High-net-worth individuals contributed vast amounts for the pandemic, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledging $1 billion to pandemic relief and Jeff Bezos giving $100 million  to Feeding America. Like the foundations, some donors will keep the new and others will revert to former programmatic interests.

 -Corporations accounted for nearly two-thirds of Covid-19 funding. This figure includes funding through both corporate foundations and corporate giving.* It will be interesting to see how the path of economic recovery affects their giving in 2021.

Here’s some encouraging news for the US in particular. According to a news release in early October,  the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, giving was up overall in 2020 by 7.5% in Q3. The number of small donations increased 19.2% over the first six months of last year. That may be due in part to the $300 universal charitable deduction that was enacted as part of the Cares Act. (You may want to remind your donors of this as the end of the year draws near).


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