July 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.


Philanthropy and HBCUs: Foundation Funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
ABFE, Candid (2023)
This report, developed in partnership between ABFE and Candid, examines U.S. foundation funding to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. It explores the relationship between foundations and HBCUs through a quantitative analysis of Candid's grants data and qualitative interviews with HBCU staff, students and funders. The study showed that large U.S. foundations steadily decreased their support of HBCUs between 2002 and 2019. They awarded $65 million to HBCUs in 2002; by 2019, giving decreased 30 percent to $45 million (not adjusting for inflation). In contrast, the average Ivy League institution received 178 times more foundation funding than the average HBCU. The report also finds that HBCUs received, on average, about two-thirds of what foundations paid out to similarly situated institutions.


Philanthropy in Complex, Multi-Generational Families: Balancing Individual Preference with Collective Purpose
National Center for Family Philanthropy (2023)
This publication from NCFP examines the ways that families work together in their philanthropy over time, particularly how the design of a family foundation's operation is informed by – and informs – the family’s other philanthropic activities. Researchers conducted surveys and interviews over a four-year period with members of 20 multi-generational family philanthropic systems. They found that as families evolve, they face common dilemmas regarding their philanthropy – most critically, the choices they make about balancing the individual philanthropic priorities of their members with a collective family philanthropic endeavor. Researchers found that the most successful families developed and used a range of philanthropic vehicles, strategies and practices to meet both individual and collective aspirations of their expanding family. They conclude with lessons on ways that families can best design their philanthropy systems – and the family foundations embedded in them – to create impactful giving, positive experiences for family members, and stronger family relationships.


State of Nonprofits 2023: What Funders Need to Know
Center for Effective Philanthropy (2023)
Through a survey of sector leaders in the Nonprofit Voice Project, CEP sought to explore the state of nonprofit relationships with both foundations and individual donors. The report also discusses how nonprofits are perceiving current challenges and looks at trends in nonprofit finances following the COVID-19 pandemic and national racial justice reckoning of 2020. Nonprofit leaders report an increase in trust-based practices by funders, such as multi-year support and streamlined application processes. While challenges exist in terms of staffing and turnover, responding nonprofits reported mostly stable finances despite a somewhat pessimistic economic outlook.


Trends in Education Philanthropy: Benchmarking 2023
Grantmakers for Education (2023)
This 15th anniversary report by Grantmakers for Education – the first post-pandemic – is based on a survey of 142 education philanthropies. Data on foundation grantmaking shows an increased emphasis on funding initiatives aimed at redesigning and transforming the U.S. education system. Equity remains a priority among education grantmakers, and funders’ expanded approach to the social and emotional needs of learners includes addressing trauma and the negative impacts of racial injustice. The report further finds that, given the ideological divides evident in American society, funders have major concerns about the politicization of education.


What Americans Think About Philanthropy and Nonprofits
IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (2023)
In light of the changing demographics of the U.S. population and challenges posed both by the shrinking number of donors and the general decline in trust in public institutions, this study sought to assess public perceptions of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Survey findings revealed that Americans generally define philanthropy as the giving of time and/or money, with younger respondents, women, and individuals with more education having a more expansive view of philanthropy. Respondents expressed greater trust in nonprofits than in government or business, but levels of trust in all three sectors of society were low. Lastly, the study showed that Americans do not know as much detail about the philanthropic sector nor are they aware of many nonprofit entities or the specific rules that govern their activities.


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