SECF’s Southern Trends Report Now Updated with 2016 Grantmaking Data

The Southern Trends Report, SECF's statistical dashboard on Southern Philanthropy, has just been updated with new information reflecting grantmaking across the region in 2016.

The Southern Trends Report, the result of a partnership between SECF and Foundation Center, provides the latest on foundation numbers and assets, giving priorities, and trends in regional giving. Launched in 2016, the Southern Trends Report provides the latest data on philanthropic trends in the Southeast.

Each year, the site is updated with a new information on grants shared with Foundation Center through its eReporting program. The inclusion of 2016 grants information marks the report's third update since launch, providing an increasingly clear picture of Southern grantmaking - one that will only improve in the years ahead!

Here are some of the trends in Southeast philanthropy that we've identified:

Assets of Southeastern foundations have more than doubled since 2004: Assets of private, community and operating foundations in the 11-state SECF footprint totaled just over $51 billion in 2004 and first topped $100 billion in 2014.

Education continues to be the leading target of foundation funding in the Southeast: In terms of subject focus, education has been the leading recipient of grant dollars awarded by Southeastern foundations since 2014 for each of the 11 Southeast states as well as for the region overall.

The majority of giving by Southeastern foundations stays within the region: An average of 63 percent, or close to two-thirds of grant dollars awarded between 2014-2016 by the region's foundations, went to recipient organizations located within the Southeast.

The overwhelming majority of Southeastern foundations are smaller in size: Among all active foundations in the region, more than 85% hold assets of $5 million or less. While the Southeast is home to many large and prominent funders, a majority of foundations in the region are smaller in size and more locally focused.

Community, corporate and health legacy foundations account for a disproportionate share of giving in the region: Although these three foundation types make up less than 5 percent of the total number of foundations and hold about a fifth of all foundation assets in the region, they are the source of about one out of every three grant dollars awarded.

The Southern Trends Report is more than just a statistical overview. You can use the data to:

  • Inform your foundation's grantmaking strategy and priorities
  • Identify potential partners for collaborative funding in key subject areas
  • Benchmark your grantmaking against peers

If you have questions about how to navigate the site or how to interpret the data, don't hesitate to reach out to me or my fellow SECF staff members.

Don't forget to also explore SECF's custom Foundation Maps platform for more granular data on foundation grantmaking. This is a member-only benefit made possible by our partnership with Foundation Center and the United Philanthropy Forum.

You can also become an eReporter and provide your foundation's grants data to get a custom map of your own. Learn more on our Get On the Map page.

Stephen Sherman is SECF's research and data manager.


Southeastern Council of Foundations
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Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.