What Americans Think About Philanthropy and Nonprofits

A recent study that examined public awareness and perceptions of philanthropy revealed that few Americans know how philanthropy functions or impacts their lives. Join the Council on Foundations and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for more insights from the findings.

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Virtual on Zoom platform


Free to Members and Nonmembers

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy recently completed a study on American attitudes and knowledge about philanthropy. The findings, in short: Americans have favorable impressions of charitable giving and nonprofits, but many are unfamiliar with the sector itself, including philanthropic institutions and the policies that govern and affect charitable giving.  

In this overview webinar, we shared:

  • Findings related to trust in the nonprofit sector, concerns related to transparency, and the public's confidence about solving societal issues.
  • The implications of the public’s unfamiliarity with philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, including how current debates may have broader effects on society.
  • What funders should know and what they can do to build greater knowledge of the sector.

Learn more about the public perception of philanthropy and nonprofits and how this may impact the sector.

Also check out this blog on 3 things foundations might need to know from the report.


  • Allison Grayson, Director of Policy Development and Analysis, Independent Sector
  • Dr. Una Osili, Associate Dean for Research and International Programs, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University
  • John Tyler, General Counsel, Secretary, and Chief Ethics Officer, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Kristen Scott Kennedy, Vice President, Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness and Chief of Staff, Council on Foundations

In Partnership With:

Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy




Connect with Council Staff

Wendy Torrance

Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

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