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

Author: Stephen Sherman


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:


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Get on the Map and Share the Story of Your Foundation's Grantmaking

Author: Stephen Sherman


Last week, nonprofit news site ProPublica announced that the public can now search the full text of nearly 3 million IRS filings from U.S. nonprofits and foundations. This free database of searchable filings includes Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF that were filed electronically with the IRS since 2011. That accounts for about two-thirds of nonprofits’ tax filings in recent years.

This type of text search has been available in subscription databases before, but not open to the general public as is this tool. With Congress and the IRS pushing for mandatory e-filing, it is only a matter of time before all nonprofit filings are available online in machine-readable format.

One of the implications for private foundations is that lists of grantee organizations will be easily searchable online. However, as many will attest, rarely do these lists tell the full story of a foundation’s grantmaking.

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SECF’s Southern Trends Report Updated with New Data

Author: Stephen Sherman


The Southern Trends Report, SECF’s statistical dashboard on Southeast foundations, has recently been updated with new data reflecting giving through 2017. This marks the third annual update since SECF partnered with the Foundation Center (now Candid) to develop this interactive resource on philanthropy in the region.

While some grants data for 2017 is still being collected, here are some key figures on the state of the region:

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New Resources from SECF and Candid Examine Southern Philanthropy's Past, Present and Future

Author: Stephen Sherman


Two new resources, released at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting, highlight the evolution of Southern philanthropy from its origins to today. 

The first, Southern Trends: 50 Years of Philanthropy in the Southeast Region, is a fact sheet published by SECF and Candid that looks at the growth of Southeast foundations from 1969-2019. At the time of SECF's founding in 1969, the Southeast was home to 532 foundations with $1.6 billion in assets and $61 million in giving. Fifty years later, the number of foundations has ballooned to more than 18,426 with $122 billion in assets and $8 billion in giving. Adjusted for inflation, this represents a tenfold increase in total assets since 1969.

The fact sheet also explores more recent trends in foundation growth over the past 15-20 years. While family foundations continue to make up the largest share of foundation giving, community foundations have experienced the largest growth in the share of grant dollars awarded. The distribution of foundation giving by subject has remained largely unchanged since 2003, with slight increases in giving to the arts and for environmental causes. The full fact sheet is available to view or download under the Key Findings section of the Southern Trends Report. 

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SECF’s Southern Trends Report Now Includes Five Years of Data on Philanthropy in the Southeast

Author: Stephen Sherman


The Southern Trends Report, SECF’s statistical dashboard on Southeast foundations, has recently been updated with 2018 data on foundations and grantmaking, providing a five-year snapshot of trends in the field. Data will continue to be added for 2018, but the latest figures show a number of key findings. 

  • Assets of Southeastern foundations contracted slightly to $108 billion: In 2017, assets totaled $118 billion for all foundations. With financial data for some foundations still forthcoming, assets of Southeastern foundations were about $10 billion less in 2018.
  • Giving by Southeast foundations stayed steady at over $8 billion: Total giving by the region’s foundations, with some grants data still to be counted, was more than $8.2 billion.
  • Children and education remain the leading focus areas of foundation grants in the Southeast: Over $2.4 billion in grants were awarded to education-related purposes in 2018, more than twice as much as the next leading category - health. Nearly $1.5 billion was awarded to programs or organizations serving children and youth, making that population group the top recipient of foundation funding. 
  • Program development and general support were the top types of support provided: Close to a third of grant dollars awarded by Southeast foundations were designated for program development and a just under a quarter were allocated for general operating support. 
  • Two-thirds of giving by Southeast foundations stayed within the region: The share of in-region giving by Southeast foundations rose slightly to 66 percent.

The Southern Trends Report is developed in partnership with Candid. The dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of institutional philanthropy in the Southeast region and is updated annually incorporating data from foundations that participate in Candid’s eReporting program and with data from IRS filings. For historical data and analysis of longer-term trends, see the Key Findings section of the site. 

Stephen Sherman is SECF's director of research and data.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

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