Private Philanthropy Update—July 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019 - 4:00 pm EDT
Natalie Ross

Recent data on giving by Americans signals concerns for US philanthropy. New research on US philanthropy shows lower levels of giving in 2018, even as our economy showed healthy growth overall. Giving USA reports less overall giving in 2018, following four years of steady growth. Specifically, giving by individuals fell by 3.4% to $292.2B. At the same time, foundation giving increased slightly in 2018 to $75.8B. All in all, overall giving fell from 2017 to 2018 by 1.7%.

These latest findings reinforce sector-wide fears that recent changes to our tax code, including an increased standard deduction and fewer itemizers, will lead to less individual giving. Although the charitable deduction remains in the tax code, there are fewer tax incentives for charitable giving in 2018 than in recent years. These concerns are why the Charitable Giving Coalition, which includes the Council, is pushing for a universal charitable deduction that all tax-filers can use. Learn more about how you can help advocate for a universal deduction.

And although the increase in foundation giving was a bright spot in this year’s Giving USA report, a related Candid study found that 81% of foundations expect to have flat or reduced giving in 2019 – highlighting a possible decrease in giving by both individuals and foundations in 2019 and beyond.

This data shows just one of many ways that our sector is evolving. What will continued changes in giving by individuals mean for the work of foundations? And for the future of philanthropy and organizations like the Council? What other changes are most likely to impact your work to support communities and programs across the US and around the world?

We’d love to hear your thoughts about how we can best impact our members and the field of philanthropy as it continues to evolve. If you haven’t heard yet, our President & CEO, Kathleen Enright, is holding a listening tour this summer to help us Reimagine the Council. See below for in-person and virtual opportunities to give feedback and share how you hope we grow.

As we prepare for a busy fall (which will include launching our new membership model), we’re going to take a break in August from our monthly private philanthropy newsletter – we’ll see you in September!



Natalie Ross
Vice President, External Relations
Phone: 202-991-2517


In-Person Events


Throughout this summer, we are excited to hear what you think about the future of the Council. We hope you can join our leader, Kathleen Enright, at one of her listening sessions, in person or virtually, over the next few months. You can also read about what she’s hearing in our members-only “This Week at the Council” where Kathleen is sharing the learnings and ideas she hears from the field.

In-Person Events

San Francisco | Tuesday, July 30
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PT

RSVP today through our partner,
Northern California Grantmakers

Los Angeles | Thursday, August 1
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. PT

Invitation-only through our partner, Southern California Grantmakers

Virtual Events

July Teleconference
Thursday, July 25, 2019
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET

RSVP for Dial In Instructions

August Teleconference
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

RSVP for Dial In Instructions

HR Summit
September 11-12, 2019 | Atlanta, GA

We want to help you grow as an HR professional, earn continuing education credits, and develop career-long connections in an ever-changing sector. Developing Our Talent, co-hosted by the Council on Foundations, CHANGE Philanthropy and CDC Foundation, is a unique opportunity to share your personal and organizational journey as it relates to talent management and development.

Register Now, just a few seats left!


Endowments & Finance Summit
September 19-20, 2019 | Washington, DC

Our Endowments & Finance Summit explores the nexus of philanthropy, finance, investment, and policy. This annual event is where C-Suite philanthropic leaders go to discuss the shifting forces in the investment landscape; gain valuable insights on trends, strategies, and new regulations; and have candid conversations about threats to current philanthropic business models.

We are excited to announce our first concurrent sessions! Here is a sample of what you will find:

  • Demographics, Urbanization and the Impact on Foundation Investments
  • Investments Approach to Climate Change Risks
  • What's Holding you Back? Getting your Impact Investing Mojo Working

Don’t delay in securing your seat—Early bird pricing ends July 31.

Register Now

Virtual Events

Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm ET

Join us for an update and discussion for how de-risking regulations effect on global grantmakers today. Hear directly from global experts and ask your own questions to understand how these acronyms impact you and/or your grantee partners around the world.

Register Now

Sector Trends

Pride of Place: Sustaining a Family Commitment to Geography

Our peer network, National Center for Family Philanthropy, just released a new study about place-based family foundations and the ways families invest in specific communities for the long-term.

News and Resources

How Philanthropic Collaborations Succeed, and Why They Fail — Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Giving Pledge, The Campaign to Change Billionaire Philanthropy, Explained — Vox

Advice for Young Nonprofit Professionals of Color — From People Who Have Been There — The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Women's Movements Hold the Key to Gender Equality — So Why Aren't Donors Funding Them? — PND by Candid

The New Wave Of Female Soccer Players As Philanthropists — Forbes

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on all

Related Events

Related Resources