The Road Ahead: How the Events of 2020 Might Shape the Future of Philanthropy

Host Organization: Stanford Social Innovation Review


During the first year of the pandemic, record-breaking philanthropic support was marshalled to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as it affected local, regional, national, and international communities. While we are beginning to see glimmers of hope that the worst impacts of the pandemic may be nearing an end, we know that lasting effects remain, which will need to be addressed. And COVID-19 was by no means the only challenge of the past twelve months.

Currently, there is a lot of retrospection taking place across our communities. Knowing where philanthropic resources have been deployed, what has worked, and what has been less successful will help funders as they develop their long-term philanthropic strategy, and help the nonprofits they seek to support map a way forward. How can donors, philanthropic organizations, and nonprofits prepare for the road ahead?

In this complimentary SSIR Live! webinar,  we will explore the ways that philanthropists have responded to the unprecedented events of the past year, what they learned as a result of having to quickly adapt their giving strategies to address rapidly-mounting and desperate need, and how the philanthropic ecosystem – donors and grantees – can continue prepare for what’s next.

We will look at these issues and approaches…

  • Locally: The effects of the coronavirus have disproportionately impacted low-income families, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. How have community foundations galvanized their resources to lead multiple efforts by nonprofits to protect public health and assist those affected by the pandemic and its aftermath?
  • Nationally: Nonprofits in the United States have experienced increased demand for their services at a time that fundraising activities had to rapidly adapted to a virtual reality. What role have national donor-advised funds played in addressing these adverse and challenging times, and how can nonprofits connect with these sources of ready philanthropic capital reserve to support their work?
  • Internationally: Research and development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics has become a global effort, with a growing need to funnel resources to the poorest countries struggling with the pandemic. How have large foundations and individual donors supported projects moving the most promising therapeutics to the places of greatest need, and what does this mean for those on the front-lines?

To help us explore learnings and interpret what they might mean for the future, we will be joined by Nicole Taylor, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (the largest US community foundation), Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable (a leading national donor-advised fund), and Jennifer Alcorn, deputy director, philanthropic partnerships, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which has been on the front lines of pandemic relief globally).

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