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Two New Studies: The State of Philanthropy and What’s Next



Two studies released last month provide an interesting look at the current state of philanthropy. Reviewed together, they cover recent changes within our local funder community, and what we can expect to see in terms of national funding trends in the years ahead.

From Crisis to Opportunity: Learning from One Region’s Response to the Economic Downturn is an FSG Social Impact Advisor report that profiles Northwest funders who changed their policies and practices in response to urgent needs over the past few years. With input and comments from a large number of Pacific Northwest funders, the report explores four guiding principles of Northwest funders for the challenge of “doing more with less.” It also provides the reader with ideas on which of these strategies will continue to drive giving into the future.  While this report has national significance, its focused look into Pacific Northwest funders means that it could not be more relevant to our community.

What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World is a study funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and national in scope that explores what’s next for philanthropy in the coming decade. Moving beyond the past decade’s focus on efficiency and effectiveness, the study argues that the “next practices” for philanthropy will include an additional focus on how funders can act bigger and adapt better for increased impact.

Pacific Northwest funders’ actions over the past two years indicate that this region will continue to be at the forefront of philanthropic leadership in the next decade. Many of the “next practices” for acting bigger and adapting better are practices being implemented in our region: looking to understand the larger context of problems; activating networks and leveraging resources across sectors; and continuing to take risks. Reading these reports side-by-side reminded me of how committed and determined our funding community is, and of the incredible role they play in addressing urgent needs and affecting longer-term social change.


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About the Author

Natalie Lamberjack

Natalie Lamberjack CFRE

Senior Consultant

Natalie dials into the needs of her clients by keeping a calm eye on the big picture view of the nonprofit sector.


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