Foundations Accelerate Giving Amidst Recent Global Crises

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The second biennial survey by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), Global Trends and Strategic Time Horizons in Philanthropy 2022, undertaken with NORC at the University of Chicago, looked at how the pandemic, political turmoil, inequities and social justice impacted the motivations, size, focus, flow and strategic time horizons (how long a foundation plans to operate) of various funders.

Based on the feedback of 150 self-selected donors from 30 countries and 6 continents, the sample was limited but still illustrative of general philanthropic trends, with most of key findings summarized below:

  • Half of respondents said that global challenges in 2020-2021 influenced their giving timelines, with a resulting 34% accelerating donations.
  • Top motivations for giving were to influence social change (76%), give back (64%), address urgent needs (57%) and put values into action (56%).
  • Most foundations gave in their home regions, with a primary focus on education 55%, community and economic development (45%), health (36%), political, civil, and human rights (28%), arts and culture (27%), environment/conservation (27%) and climate change (23%).
  • Most relied on evaluations of entire program areas and/or initiatives (69%) versus individual grants (58%). Thirty-nine percent adopted performance metrics, and 35% conducted grantee satisfaction surveys.
  • Most strategic time horizons—generally defined by the organization’s founder—remain permanent (74%) but a time-limited model (drawing down of operations) is increasingly popular (23%) in order to make a greater impact by narrowing focus (43%), see impact during the founder’s lifetime (33%) and address urgent needs or opportunities (24%).
[Surveyed respondents were from North America (33%), Europe (28%), Central and South America (18%), Asia-Pacific (16%), Africa (3%), and Middle East (1%). Thirty-two percent were family- led, 31% were independent/privately endowed,11% were corporate and community-based foundations, 3% were private business, with 12% classified as other.]

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