Inequities in Charitable Giving Continue to Grow, Fueled by Tax Law

Dave Biemesderfer, CEO of United Philanthropy Forum

Data continues to come in to confirm a disturbing trend in our country: growing inequities in who is giving to charity and who is benefiting from it. This is happening amid a backdrop of an overall decline in charitable giving, fueled by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed by Congress.

The latest data to confirm these trends is from the well-respected 2019 “Giving USA” report released last week. The report shows that giving by foundations, corporations and individuals declined 1.7 percent in 2018, adjusted for inflation. This is the first drop in giving since 2013 and just the 13th decline since 1978, and has occurred despite assurances from Congress that the 2017 tax law would not negatively impact giving and in fact would increase it.

Read Dave’s full blog post

Power Sharing Among Grantees and Funders Materials Available from FCCP

GCRI partner, Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), recently hosted a webinar on Power Sharing as part of their Summer Equity and Power Sharing series.

Slides and a recording of the program are now available. Thanks to FCCP for making this available to the Forum network, and thanks to Lori Villarosa of Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) for walking funders through how philanthropy can intentionally tackle the realities of racism and connect these threads to present day grantmaking practices, as well as to Jennifer Epps-Addison with The Center for Popular Democracy, Dana Kawaoka-Chen with Justice Funders, Dimple Abichandani with General Service Foundation, and Farhad Ebrahimi with Chorus Foundation for addressing power sharing and grantmaking strategies that can change the who, what, and how of support through integrating a racial equity lens.

van Beuren Charitable Foundation Transitions to New Strategic Framework

van Beuren Charitable Foundation Transitions to New Strategic Framework

The van Beuren Charitable Foundation recently completed a new strategic plan and has begun implementing a new strategic framework to align the van Beuren family’s philanthropic goals with community aspirations.

The Foundation’s mission continues to be to “invest in the quality of place and quality of life on Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities” but the focus has shifted from activities to outcomes in the areas of Healthy Lifestyles, Strong Starts, Community Prosperity and Excellence in the Commons.

“We hope that our new strategic framework will encourage the increased connectivity that is developing in the community, and acknowledges that community vitality is augmented by the beneficial interplay between health, education, the economy, and built and natural environments,” say Archbold D. van Beuren, Foundation Chair, and Elizabeth Lynn, Foundation Executive Director in the Foundation’s newly released annual report.

The report presents feedback from three clusters of grantees working on shared community goals, the community benefit they
strive to deliver, and the lessons learned that inform future work.

“The $5.5 million of grant funds we invested locally in 2016 inspired our planning process and reaffirmed the importance of being a community partner. Our community is hard at work taking on the challenges that will lead to children having a strong start in life, residents experiencing health throughout their lives, economic opportunity for residents and enterprises, and inspirational institutions and landscapes,” say van Beuren and Lynn.

Read the report

Impacts of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving

What effect would the proposed tax reforms have on charitable giving? What would be the impact of allowing all taxpayers to take the charitable tax? How might these proposals impact tax revenue collected by the Treasury? New research commissioned by Independent Sector and conducted by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy provides insights on these and others questions, and research highlights were shared during a recent webinar jointly hosted by the Forum and Independent Sector. This new research is designed to help educate and inform lawmakers as they consider tax reform proposals.

Download the slides or watch the recording

Managing an Endowment in a Low Interest Rate Environment

GCRI’s sister organization in Massachusetts, Associated Grant Makers (AGM) recently partnered with Fiduciary Trust on a survey of endowments and foundations to understand how leaders are operating in a low-interest rate environment.  Check out the resulting report outlining findings about fundraising, investing, grant-making, spending and board governance.

Boston Area Summer Conferences

Boston will play host to two valuable conferences this summer:

Grantmakers in Health Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy

June 21-23
This is a tremendous opportunity to engage with peers, colleagues, experts and innovative practitioners working in health philanthropy today.

Community Foundation Bootcamp

August 29-30
Presented by the Forum in partnership with Associated Grant Makers, the two-day Community Foundation Boot Camp program offers a comprehensive overview of the structure and operations of a community foundation. The program is an ideal in-depth introduction to community foundations for new community foundation staff, community foundation board members, or more experienced community foundation staff looking for a good refresher. Training is provided by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.

Impact Investing Session Follow up

For those interested in additional resources on Mission Related Investments (MRI), here are some resources:

Support Organizations

Global Impact Investing Network  

Initiative for Responsible Investment  

Mission Investors Exchange

US SIF – The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Articles and Publications

Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative: “What is Place-Based Impact Investing?”

Center for Effective Philanthropy:  “Investing and Social Impact:  Practices of Private Foundations”

Chronicle of Philanthropy:  “Mission Critical:  Nonprofits and foundations making impact investments believe their dollars are vital to solving tough problems

Council of Development Finance Agencies:  “Urban Revitalization and Impact Investing”

Goldman Sachs: “Right Tools, Right Time:  The Rise of Impact Investing”

Grantmakers in the Arts: “How to Invest in the Arts Without Buying a Picasso”

Invest with Values

The McKnight Foundation:  Statement of Investment Policy

Mission Investors Exchange: Equity Advancing Equity”

National Center for Family Philanthropy: “Getting started with impact investing:  Overcoming resistance from family and board members”

Philanthropy News Digest: “Study calls on impact investors to close educational attainment gaps”

Pacific Community Ventures: What’s New in Impact Investing

Stanford Social Innovation Review:  “Mission Possible:  How Foundations Are Shaping the Future of Impact Investing” – series of mission investment articles

Surdna Foundation: ”Mapping the Journey to Impact Investing”

United Nations: Principles for Responsible Investment

Two New “Marketplaces” for Impact Investments

Impact Us 

Capital Aggregation

  • Minnesota Council of Foundations (GCRI’s sister organization) has established an impact investing collaborative with The McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation and the Otto Bremer Trust as lead institutions.
  • Washington Area Grantmakers  (GCRI’s sister organization) has a housing investment program.

Free Youth Philanthropy Webinar Series

Youth Philanthropy Connect (YPC) and Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII) are partnering to host a 4-part webinar series designed to support next-gen leadership and giving opportunities.

This webinar series is FREE thanks to the generous support of Youth Philanthropy Connect.

Click the links below to learn more about each program and to register.

These FREE webinars feature national experts and youth philanthropists highlighting topics of meeting facilitation, diversifying youth programming, successful media strategies for sharing your story, and top resources on youth philanthropy. The series incorporates YPII’s 4-pillar model of Serving, Giving, Leading, and Engaging to highlight the progression of youth taking action and engaging others in their communities.  Participants will receive real-world examples and resources they can integrate into their programs. To learn more about each program, download our flyer.

Who should attend?
This series is tailored for foundations, youth-serving organizations, and families interested in engaging youth in philanthropic programming and opportunities. It is appropriate for staff, board members, supporting adults, and young people that are connecting programming to next-gen giving and philanthropy for the community.

What can you expect?

  • Learn how to incorporate concepts of serving, giving, leading, and engaging into your organization’s programming for young people.
  • Explore real-world examples and resources for you to integrate into your foundations and youth-serving organizations.

Register

More Value to Short-Term Investment or Smaller, Long-Term, Endowment Based Giving?

Atlantic Philanthropies has banked its investment decisions on the philosophy that since a foundation’s grants generate a social return, those returns compound at a higher rate than its financial assets would, so more immediate grants will generate more social value than preserving the capital and making more grants later.  This is the premise behind limited life foundations.  Value, Time, and Time-Limited Philanthropy, highlights discussions among philanthropic leaders, advisors, and scholars about the social value a philanthropic initiative can be estimated to generate — taking into account direct outlay, social value, ripple effects, and durability — and whether, considering social utility, rates of return, and the compounding or erosion of value over time, the premise holds true for three Atlantic Philanthropies-funded initiatives.  Initial study is showing that Atlantic’s short-term investments are paying off, in part because other foundations have taken a slower, more sustained approach, so there may be an important role for both approaches to funding to address systemic issues.

 

GCRI Membership Discount to Exponent Philanthropy

Exponent Philanthropy is an association of small grantmakers and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors. With nearly 2,000 members, their vibrant network has in common lean operations and a style of philanthropy motivated by personal passion, community needs, and the strong desire for better outcomes. Exponent provides programs, resources, and connections that maximize philanthropy’s impact on diverse communities and causes. Learn more

GCRI members can receive $100 off the first year of membership in Exponent Philanthropy.  The discount code is REGIONAL100.