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July 2019 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field


SECF’s Research Library, accessible only to members, is regularly updated with the latest reports, websites, case studies and other resources we’ve cultivated to help Southern funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy.

Periodically, SECF’s research and data manager, Stephen Sherman, looks at some of the latest additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen at stephen@secf.org or at (404) 524-0911.


The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit for Consultants to Grantmakers
National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers

This toolkit, intended primarily for philanthropy consultants but also of use to grantmakers themselves, is designed to address the lack of concrete tools to facilitate institutional and community change. Divided into two parts, the first section offers a concise collection of resources on diversity, equity and inclusion. Resources are grouped into six categories: frameworks, grantmaking strategy, planning and evaluation, organizational culture and leadership, research, and engaging communities and partners. Each resource is accompanied by a brief description and link to the relevant website or report online.

The second part of the toolkit features perspectives from consultants in the field with their recommendations on best practices for working with foundations to address diversity, equity and inclusion.


Our Divided Nation: Is There a Role for Philanthropy in Renewing Democracy?
Kettering Foundation, Council on Foundations

This report from the Council on Foundations and the Kettering Foundation summarizes reflections from a two-day symposium of philanthopic leaders that convened in May 2018 to address questions of what role philanthropy can play in strengthening communities and rebuilding public trust in democratic institutions and how foundations can be more responsive to the needs of a democratic society. While foundations often stress the importance of advancing democracy and serving the common good, there is no consensus yet in the field about what this means in the context of a divided public or how it is to be achieved. While there are no simple answers to these questions, the authors suggest that a first step might be for philanthropy to develop a common set of aspirations and articulate a shared vision for democratic renewal.


Tracking Federal Funding to Combat the Opioid Crisis
Bipartisan Policy Center

The Bipartisan Policy Center analyzed 57 federal programs that provided nearly $11 billion in funding for efforts to curb the opioid epidemic in FY2017 and FY2018. Funding for these programs rose from $3.3 billion in FY2017 to $7.4 billion in FY2018 and allocations specifically intended for treatment and recovery programs increased from $599 million to $2.12 billion. The report examines allocations from these programs across federal agencies and among individual states. Also included are in-depth profiles of five states that have experienced higher-than-average drug overdose death rates: Arizona, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Ohio and Tennessee. The report examines how each state has allocated federal dollars for opioid abuse prevention and treatment and provides county-level maps of both federal spending and drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2017.


Women's Foundations and Funds: A Landscape Study
IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

This latest scan of women's funds and foundations identified 209 such organizations in the United States, of which 39 (18 percent) were located in the South. The vast majority of the organizations included in the study were public charities with multiple sources of support, while only 8 percent were classified as private foundations. Almost two-thirds of the funds and foundations identified were found to be affiliates of larger organizations. In terms of geographic scope, 76 percent of funds gave locally, 13 percent gave statewide, and the remaining 11 percent gave either wholly or in part for national and international causes. In addition to grantmaking, 30 percent of responding funds hosted events; 23 percent commissioned or published research; 23 percent operated programs; and 16 percent engaged in advocacy. The report also provides data on giving by women’s funds by subject focus, population served and type of support.


Charitable Giving and Tax Incentives: Estimating Changes in Charitable Dollars and Number of Donors Resulting from Five Policy Proposals
IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Independent Sector

While the total value of donations to nonprofits continues to rise, the share of households that contribute to charities is on the decline. Modeling and estimates for charitable giving have shown that this decline could be accelerated by recent policy changes enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The report examines five tax policy proposals that could help address the decreasing number of donors and increase overall participation in charitable giving. Of the five proposals analyzed, a non-refundable 25 percent tax credit was found to have the highest potential for positive impact on both the amount of contributions and the number of donor households. However, this proposed policy would also be the most costly to implement, with a potential loss of $33 billion in federal revenue. While each proposal differs in terms of potential costs and benefits, all five would be projected to increase the number of U.S. households participating in charitable giving.


Stephen Sherman is SECF's research and data manager.

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