Regional Funders Say Overall Giving, Philanthropic Collaborations are Up - Generocity Philly


Nov. 17, 2014 12:50 pm

Regional Funders Say Overall Giving, Philanthropic Collaborations are Up

Regional giving is growing, according to a new report issued by Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, whose membership is a broad spectrum of funder types, including private, community, and corporate foundations and grantmaking public charities, surveyed 71 of its member organizations about the state of giving in the region.

The resulting data indicates that from 2011 to 2013, regional giving rose by 10 percent — to $248 million. That upward growth is consistent with national trends.

“As the economy has improved, regional giving has gone along with it,” said Debra Kahn, the executive director of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. “A good percentage of our members anticipate that their budgets would continue to grow, and others said they would be stable.”

Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents expect to increase their charitable giving in fiscal year 2015.

Education, arts & culture, and human services emerged as the funding community’s top priorities. Education alone accounted for nearly one-third of all regional grant dollars distributed — $67 million was awarded in 2013. Another $49 million was designated for arts & culture, and $39 million went to human services.

The release of the report coincided with Philanthropy Network’s second Sparking Solutions conference, a forum that gathered over 350 leaders from the surrounding philanthropic, nonprofit, and government communities. Sparking Solutions is Philanthropy Network’s initiative to encourage cross-sector collaborations, with the goal of fostering solutions to poverty-related problems.

“Poverty-related issues translate into a whole range of needs,” Kahn said, which are compounded by an increasing demand for support. “That’s something that has funders concerned,” she added.

Kahn and her team queried members and colleagues to develop an issue agenda that reflected the region’s most pressing needs prior to the inaugural conference last fall. The five identified areas include reading by fourth grade; preventing and ending homelessness; reducing hunger and fostering healthy eating; increasing access to health care; and youth safety.

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To maximize impact and grant dollars, the philanthropic community has started working together to address these critical problems. Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents said they plan to engage in collaborative philanthropy this year, and 87 percent are already supporting one or more of the Sparking Solutions issue areas. Funders awarded over $55 million, or 22 percent of reported giving, toward the identified areas in 2013.

Despite the complexity of the region’s problems, Kahn noted that energy was the operative word for the mood at the conference.

“People really do care seriously about the work that they’re doing and they want to connect and learn from each other. There’s strength and satisfaction in that,” she said.

Photo by Jim Harris Studios 

More Stories About the Philanthropy Network

Sparking Solutions Conference Recap: Delaware Valley Grantmakers Becomes Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia 

Sparking Solutions: Issue Profile on Early Literacy

Sparking Solutions: Issue Profile on Hunger and Obesity

Sparking Solutions: Issue Profile on Health and the Affordable Care Act

Sparking Solutions: Issue Profile on Youth Safety

Sparking Solutions: Issue Profile on Homelessness


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