April 2023 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

Philanthropy Southeast’s online Research Library is regularly updated with the latest reports relevant to Southern philanthropy. Members can browse over 500 research reports, websites, case studies, and other resources we have cultivated to help funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy. 

Below are some of the key findings and highlights of the newest additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen Sherman, Philanthropy Southeast’s Director of Research and Data, at or (404) 524-0911.



Generosity Trends and Impacts: Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the USA
University of Pennsylvania (2022)
Funded by the Generosity Commission of Giving USA, this study initially aimed to explore declining participation in charitable giving and volunteering but shifted to examine changes in behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers explored changes in both formal and informal giving, as well as volunteering, from before the pandemic (March 2019 through March 2020) to during the pandemic (March 2020 and after). The study found that while the average donation amount increased significantly, the overall number of donors decreased. About a quarter of those who volunteered for an organization before the pandemic stopped volunteering during the pandemic. With the exception of giving above-average tips, areas of informal volunteering and/or donation behavior remained stable during the pandemic.


Shifting Power to Shift Systems: Insights and Tools for Funders
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (2022)
Over the course of three months in early 2022, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Shifting Systems Initiative hosted an eight-part Power and Equity Workshop Series. Stemming from those workshops, this report is a collection of the themes, topics, conceptual frameworks and actionable resources that can enable funders to create equitable processes and practices, and to embed equity as a core principle and building block of systems change. The report encourages funders to shift their internal vision and practices to align with equity; foster a culture of learning, growing and experimenting; and to embrace equitable evaluation and impact assessment practices.


Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness in America: A Thrive by 25 Brief
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2023)
Across America, 1 in 30 youth between the ages of 13 to 24 and 1 in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 will experience homelessness over the course of a year. In recognition of these challenges, The Annie E. Casey Foundation is joining partners in the field, such as Funders Together to End Homelessness, to ensure that young people have safe, stable housing access to meaningful educational and economic opportunities. This brief shares facts about youth homelessness in America and reviews the nation’s current response to youth homelessness, the risks that young people face when homeless, and what leaders can be doing to prevent and end housing instability among young people today. Recommendations include developing a unified definition of youth homelessness, focusing on prevention, targeting funding to basic needs and other youth homelessness risks, supporting cross-systems partnerships, advancing equity, elevating youth voices, transforming juvenile justice, and helping those in foster care better prepare for adulthood.


Common Problems, Common Solutions: Looking Across Sectors at Strategies for Supporting Rural Youth and Families Tool-Kit
Georgetown University, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (2023)
This toolkit provides an overview of common barriers faced by rural communities in supporting youth and families as well as innovative strategies to improve outcomes for youth, families and communities. The publication is informed by interviews and listening sessions with practitioners and leaders working in rural areas across the United States. Challenges addressed in the publication include access to transportation, racial and ethnic disparities, lack of career preparation, the need for workforce development, and resource limitations. Each challenge is addressed in detail and accompanied by suggestions of promising solutions and examples of those solutions in action.


The Social Sector Infrastructure: Defining and Understanding the Concept
Urban Institute (2023)
This report seeks to deepen understanding of the infrastructure – or support system – for the social sector in the United States. The authors define the social sector as private organizations (nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrids of the two), groups, and individuals acting to advance social missions as their primary purpose. This definition includes incorporated organizations as well as unincorporated groups and movements, and institutions as well as individuals. In addition to defining the scope of the sector, the report explores what is needed for the social sector to thrive, including support for its sustainability, opportunities for learning, strong relationships, and influence.


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