Strategic decisions are only as good as the research that goes into making them. Candid's researchers analyze and interpret the most current philanthropic data so you can tap into it. Hundreds of full-text reports published over decades are available to download here in our frequently updated open access repository.

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A Generation of Impact: The Evolution of Philanthropy over the Past 25 Years

March 2, 2021

In this paper, A Generation of Impact: The Evolution of Philanthropy over the Past 25 Years, we analyze the development, at the national level, of an array of strategies that philanthropy has leveraged to create greater impact over this generation. We begin by documenting the changing landscape of philanthropy and the phenomenal growth in private giving that began in 1995. The times series data on giving and foundations (numbers, assets and giving) all show the establishment of a new plateau for giving over the last two and half decades. Of particular note is the doubling of foundation giving – from 9 percent to 18 percent – as a relative share of total private giving. In addition, the foundations created over this period account for 60 percent of all U.S. foundations, hold 36 percent of total U.S. foundation assets and account for 48 percent of total U.S. foundation giving. 

In the field

Foundations in Los Angeles: An Assessment of the Last 25 Years

March 2, 2021

Philanthropy has changed in marked ways over the last 25 years. We have seen new players, new giving vehicles and new approaches. New players came on the scene from their economic success in the tech industry, financial institutions and other growth industries. Many of them are younger, more diverse and committed to philanthropy. Many took advantage of new structures for giving, such as donor advised funds and philanthropic LLCs leading to a donor-centered philanthropy. These donors adopted new strategies that, at their core, aspire for greater impact, not merely doing good.These forces have created a crescendo that is reflected in the way philanthropy is practiced today. Early in this period, strategic philanthropy and nonprofit capacity building – elements central to the venture philanthropy movement – were the focus. In the intervening years, a number of efforts have emerged: philanthropic collaboration, public policy engagement, public philanthropic partnerships, impact investing, diversity and inclusion, and new giving models that are more flexible and nimbler. Some of these approaches have taken hold as evidenced by the emergence of related infrastructure organizations and affinity groups. In other instances, the developments are at an earlier stage, yet are gaining traction. And, there are others where it is still too early to tell. Despite these different stages, it is clear that this generation of philanthropy is marked by a focus on impact.We have seen these changes unfold here in Los Angeles. In this paper, to provide context, we begin by reflecting on the changing foundation landscape and the prospects for even more changes in the future. Then, we work through the eight strategies that have defined this generation, exploring how they have shaped the way L.A. foundations approach their work. For each strategy, we share some notable examples that bring each to life, providing a vivid portrait of the changes that are reshaping philanthropy in the region. We conclude with reflections on how this generation of impact has found expression in L.A. philanthropy and offer some thoughts on what the future may hold. 

In the field

Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Equity?

December 9, 2020

The disproportionate public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain communities, along with nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice, have intensified the calls for foundations to focus on equity and reckon with anti-Black racism in a deeper way than they had before. To what extent have staffed foundations changed their practices in 2020 in response to this push for substantial shifts in how philanthropy approaches its work?CEP surveyed and interviewed foundation leaders to find out. Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Equity? reveals that almost all foundations participating in CEP's study report placing new, or more, focus on supporting Black, Latino, and lower-income communities; and most foundation leaders say they are reckoning with racism and paying greater attention to racial equity in their work. However, there remains still significant room for further progress, and it remains to be seen how deep and sustained this new focus will be.

In the field

Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Greater Flexibility and Responsiveness?

December 1, 2020

Nonprofits and funders alike have long called on foundations to be more flexible and responsive, to provide more unrestricted funding, to reduce what they ask of grantees, and to build more trusting relationships. In 2020, these calls for change only intensified in a time of immense challenge for nonprofits and the people and communities they serve.Have foundations responded to these calls with newfound urgency? And if so, is that response merely a momentary adjustment? Or will the crises of 2020 spur substantive, long-term change in how funders approach their work?CEP surveyed and interviewed foundation leaders to find out. Foundations Respond to Crisis: Toward Greater Flexibility and Responsiveness? reveals that foundations say they are loosening grant restrictions, providing more unrestricted funding, and reducing what they ask of grantees. Many plan to continue these practices in the future, though to a lesser degree than during their pandemic response.Findings in this report are based on survey data gathered from 236 foundations — 170 of which signed the pledge hosted by the Council on Foundations to act urgently in response to COVID-19, and 66 of which had not — as well as in-depth interviews with leaders of 41 foundations that signed the pledge. All data was collected between June and August 2020.This study is the final in a series of three reports from CEP examining the extent to which staffed foundations have changed their practices in response to calls for change to meet the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

In the field