Grantmakers Anticipate Philanthropy Playing More Important Role

A significant majority of grantmakers expect the institution of philanthropy to play a more important role in society as a result of recent changes in Washington, D.C., a survey from Exponent Philanthropy finds.

The Pulse Check survey of Exponent Philanthropy members in late March found that more than 80 percent of the three hundred and twenty-four respondents agreed (53 percent) or strongly agreed (29 percent) with the statement, "In light of recent changes in Washington, I expect philanthropy to play a more important role in our society moving forward," with "changes in Washington" referring to an aggressive congressional agenda, the potential for sweeping policy changes, and the unconventional style of the new administration. Some respondents said they saw an increased need to address funding gaps created by proposed government cuts to social programs, while others pointed to a need for greater advocacy around specific issues.

Those expectations were evident in the survey results, with 22 percent of grantmakers saying they expect to make changes to their giving in 2017. Of that group, a third (33 percent) expect to increase their grantmaking, while a much smaller number (3 percent) plan to reduce giving; 56 percent expect to change allocations to specific funding areas; and 34 percent expect to award more general operating support. The survey also found that only 9 percent of respondents said they expect to make changes to how they invest their philanthropic assets, with 63 percent of that group saying they are likely to change their allocation mix and smaller numbers saying they plan to explore impact investing opportunities, do more program-related/mission-related investing, and consider more alternative investments.

"Our members have made it clear that regardless of their political leanings, as grantmakers, they care about and are impacted by what is happening in government today," said Exponent Philanthropy CEO Henry L. Berman. "The percentage of Exponent Philanthropy members who expect to make changes to their philanthropy as a result of current events is significant. Whether someone sees these changes as rife with risk or possibility, this survey demonstrates a shared commitment among philanthropists to making the world a better place."

"82 Percent of Grantmakers Expect Philanthropy to Play a More Important Role in Society as a Result of Recent Changes in Washington, D.C." Exponent Philanthropy Press Release 04/25/2017.