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Global COVID-19 Philanthropic Response Topped $20 Billion

At least $20.2 billion in global COVID-19 giving was made by grantmakers and wealthy donors during 2020. Community foundations awarded more grants than any other grantmaker type, making up 54% of total awards. Corporate foundations and corporate giving programs accounted for $9.4 billion (44%) of total COVID-19 funding.

That’s some of the data in a new study based on research from Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) titled Philanthropy and COVID-19: Measuring one year of giving. It is the second of two reports assessing COVID-19 philanthropic data. The first report, released in August 2020, examined COVID-19 philanthropy in the first half of 2020. Today’s report provides updates and looks at the global philanthropic response to COVID-19 for all of 2020.

Some of the other data points include:

  • Funding by independent foundations more than doubled, from $1.7 billion during the first half of the year to $4.7 billion for the entire year;
  • High-net-worth donors accounted for $5.8 billion, more than one-quarter of total philanthropic funding. MacKenzie Scott’s $4.1 billion in grants accounted for nearly three-quarters of funding from high-net-worth individuals;
  • Human services organizations received the most support, followed by health organizations. In the first half of 2020, health organizations received the most support, followed by public safety organizations; and,
  • The majority of funding dollars ($13.5 billion, around 63%) went to “unknown” recipients or to “multiple” recipients.

Funding designated for specific populations provided some encouraging updates, particularly regarding Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. In the first half of 2020, only 5% of COVID-19-related funding that specified recipients was designated for BIPOC communities, despite these populations being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

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Since then, available data shows a dramatic increase:

  • 23% of specified global funding was explicitly designated for communities of color;
  • 35% of specified U.S. funding was designated for BIPOC communities;
  • High-net-worth donors designated the highest proportion of funding for BIPOC communities (44%), whereas corporations designated only 11%.

Additionally, 8% of funding was directed explicitly for people with disabilities, an increase from 1% reported in the first report.

In contrast, funding specified for women and girls increased nominally, from 3% in the first half of 2020 to 4% for the entire year. Funding directed to immigrants and refugees remained at 2%, and funding specified for older adults also remained at 2%.

According to Grace Sato, director of research at Candid, “After the first report, there were questions about whether philanthropic funding would taper down. What we see is exactly the opposite — not only did funding stay strong throughout the rest of the year, but we also see promising trends in several categories. It shows that philanthropy can, and is, playing an especially important role in times of crisis.”

Philanthropy and COVID-19: Measuring one year of giving is available at http://doi.org/10/gh5dzk.

This article first ran at The NonProfit Times. It is reprinted with permission.

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