Charitable giving both increased this year and went in new directions, as donors, big and small, responded first to the pandemic and then to social justice causes after the killing of George Floyd in May.
The Foundation Source, which advises smaller corporate and family foundations, recently surveyed its members and found that 39 percent of respondents had shifted their foundations’ missions in response to the events of this year, while 42 percent had increased their giving. And some said they had used their foundations to make grants directly to individuals, award scholarships or engage in direct charitable activities.
“We’ve seen a change in behavior,” said Stefanie Borsari, national director of client services for Foundation Source. “Of the top reasons that people shifted their mission or focus, the biggest was certainly Covid, but about a third of respondents also noted social justice concerns,” she added. “It’s hard to separate social justice and Covid.”
Fidelity Charitable, the largest grant maker in the country, found similar increases in donations in the pandemic in a report in June that detailed how people used its donor-advised funds to make charitable grants. That report found grants to food assistance programs were up 667 percent nationally, but donors also continued to give to their regular charities.
What smaller foundations and individual donors have often lacked, though, was knowing which nonprofits in which communities would best use their donations.
Two new philanthropic databases are aiming to fill that breach by highlighting nonprofits that are addressing social justice and pandemic issues. Both are efforts to help channel a desire to help organizations ready to