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New Study: Less Than One-Fifth of COVID Response Funds Designed to Reach BIPOC

Giving Compass

Seattle, WA, June 24, 2020 – An analysis released today by Giving Compass, an online platform that curates philanthropic content to help donors give in ways more likely to make a difference, found that philanthropy is continuing to miss the mark in addressing underlying disparities that have led to communities of color experiencing the highest rates of death and infection from COVID-19.

The study reveals that  less than five percent of COVID response funds established since March are focused on restructuring systems to advance equity for all after the pandemic. Furthermore, only 14 percent of the 505 funds analyzed even mention Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in their framework or approach. Relief efforts have been swift and plentiful, but despite pleas for a more equitable world — particularly in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement — the data suggests philanthropy has more work to do.

Complete Findings:

Giving Compass analyzed publicly available information for 505 funds launched by intermediary organizations in the wake of COVID-19.

  • The vast majority of funds (83 percent) are focused on immediate relief efforts. 1
  • 13 percent are funding “rebound” strategies, such as the race for a vaccine or technology in schools.
  • Less than 5 percent are addressing efforts to reimagine and restructure systems to work for all people.
  • Only 14 percent of the funds analyzed explicitly mention reaching members of the most vulnerable communities (Black, Indigenous, and people of color).
  • 8 percent of funds are explicitly earmarked for other specific populations disproportionately affected (frontline workers, artists, restaurant workers, etc).
  • Less than one-third of the funds mention providing direct cash support for individuals.
  • Funds focused on rural communities make up 16 percent of the sample, a bit shy of the 19.3 percent of the U.S. population that reside in those areas.

“Charitable giving has been crucial to ‘stopping the bleeding’ during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Afi Tengue, VP of Philanthropy and Impact at Giving Compass. “However, new data suggest that philanthropy is still not doing enough to restructure systems that perpetuate racial inequity and have exacerbated the current crisis. If we want to seize this moment for long-term change, donors and relief funds must execute giving strategies that will reshape our society in the long-term.”

Giving Compass began publishing a list of COVID-19 funds launched by intermediaries such as community foundations, social justice funds, and philanthropy associations on March 10, 2020 in partnership with the National Center for Family Philanthropy. Intermediary organizations play an important role in aggregating contributions, as well as in sourcing, conducting diligence, and directing funding to nonprofit partners well positioned to deliver services quickly and reach the most vulnerable.

Read the full results of the study here.

About Giving Compass
Giving Compass is a nonprofit organization that leverages the best of technology and the knowledge of philanthropy to bring individual donors content, resources, and tools to give with greater impact. Launched in 2017, Giving Compass was co-founded by Seattle philanthropists Jeff and Tricia Raikes, who identified an opportunity to provide targeted resources to guide donors’ strategic giving. Learn more at givingcompass.org.

Media Contact:
Stephanie Fuerstner-Gillis
stephanie.g@givingcompass.org

1. Giving Compass’ analysis is based on publicly available materials. The funds were reviewed between April 27 and May 15. There are in some cases indications that organizations may pivot to another approach in the future after an initial focus on relief.