The Download Archive

The Download

November 28, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Giving Tuesday: The Outlook and Learning to Give's Initiative 

Many grantees and funders alike are gearing up for a marathon of giving, as Giving Tuesday kicks off at midnight. Giving Tuesday began in 2012, marking the unofficial start to the charitable season. With the holidays and end-of-the-year giving in sight, it’s one of the biggest charitable days of the year. What can we expect this year?

If last year is any indication, we may see our most successful Giving Tuesday yet. The Case Foundation’s data showed 2015 was a record-setting Giving Tuesday, netting more than $116 million in donations, more than doubling from 2014’s grand total of $46 million.

The average online Giving Tuesday gift last year was $137, up from 2014.

It’s no surprise that experts say online giving as a platform is growing, especially for social-minded millennials. Total online giving jumped up 9 percent last year, and there’s more room for growth as it currently only accounts for less than 10 percent of all charitable giving.

Blackbaud, a founding partner of Giving Tuesday and a software and services supplier for nonprofits, shared its analysis of Giving Tuesday, revealing they expect more people to click “donate” from their mobile devices this year, with the strongest mobile giving window between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

We are seeing global reach with Giving Tuesday. The Case Foundation shared that Giving Tuesday engaged more than 700,000 people from around the world in more than 70 countries last year alone.

We know social media is a huge driver for the 24 hours of giving, with the hashtag, #GivingTuesday gaining 114 billion impressions on Twitter and more than 1.3 million social media mentions last year alone.

Larger organizations with more structured giving platforms tend to benefit more from the day of giving in terms of dollar amount, but there have been efforts to ensure smaller nonprofits get a piece of the pie, especially online.

This year, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy is offering a one-stop shop for donors with their GRGives campaign, giving donors a place to shop around for their favorite Grand Rapids area nonprofit.

On Giving Tuesday one of CMF’s supporting organizations, Learning to Give, is working to spread the word about giving at an early age, through its TeachOne campaign. Learning to Give, which provides more than two million teachers with philanthropy lessons through its website every year, is asking teachers across the country to teach one lesson about giving now, in hopes of building a culture of giving and service for the future through our youth. They’re asking teachers to share their classroom experience on social with #TeachOne.

As for what Giving Tuesday 2016 brings in terms of donations and engagement, we will share the complete Giving Tuesday data that the Case Foundation will track and release in early December.

Share your #GivingTuesday stories with CMF on Twitter! @michfoundations






The Fastest Growing Vehicle for Giving

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are growing at a rapid pace, seeing double digit growth for the sixth year in a row.

National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), an independent DAF sponsor, has shared its 2016 Donor-Advised Fund Report, using data collected during the second and third quarters of 2016 from more than 1,000 charities that sponsor DAFs. Contributions to DAFs hit an all-time high of $22.26 billion in 2015, that represents 8.4 percent of total individual giving in the U.S., which is another new high.

The surge of DAF contributions has pushed Fidelity Charitable, a DAF sponsor, to the top spot for the most charitable funds raised in the U.S., even surpassing the United Way. Fidelity Charitable announced in September they saw a 15 percent increase in donor-recommended grants in the first nine months of 2016 compared to last year.

The data:

  • Payout rates are the highest at single-issue charities (a nonprofit that works in a specific topical area, environment, faith-based, etc.)
  • The number of DAFs at community foundations grew 3.1 percent from 2014 to 2015
  • In 2015 DAFs saw almost 12 percent growth
  • Giving to private foundations grew by 9.7 percent.

The study attributes the recent surge of DAFs to three things: tax policy uncertainty, the political environment and market conditions.

DAFs give donors flexibility to make charitable grants at their own pace while providing an immediate tax deduction without requiring a minimum annual payout.  However, critics say without a required annual payout that money can linger in a DAF indefinitely, providing a challenge for nonprofits who require donations to serve urgent needs.

NPT’s research showed grants from DAFs increased nearly 17 percent from 2014 to 2015. NPT notes they calculate grant payout from DAF sponsors based on charitable assets held in donor-advised fund accounts at the end of the prior year.

NPT’s research predicts we will see continued growth for contributions to DAFs, but it will likely be at a much lower rate, and as those contributions level out we may see a continued increase in grantmaking. 

What’s ahead for DAFs?

Eileen Heisman, CEO of NPT, told The Wall Street Journal if we do see a cap on charitable deductions at some point, it “could put pressure on the funds’ growth in the future.” Heisman said we may see donors giving more to their DAFs by the end of the year to lock in deductions.

CMF continues to monitor and collect data on Michigan community foundations and their DAFs as we prepare for tax reform.






Climate Adaptation

Amid headlines about how the U.S. may or may not be involved in future global climate change work, such as the Paris Agreement, the World Meteorological Organization shared an analysis of the global climate, calling 2011 to 2015 the hottest five-year period on record, attributing it to the “increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts.”

In a June edition of the Weekly Download, CMF reported on the potential health risks associated with climate change, shared in a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services report, which called for proactive action from communities.

A new report is showing exactly how 17 communities are acting now to prepare for extreme events and ensure they’re resilient when it comes to climate adaptation. The Kresge Foundation funded the study, Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities, that was written by the research firm, Abt Associates.

The city of Grand Rapids was highlighted for its Vital Streets and Sidewalk Spending Guidelines, policy that mandates green infrastructure must be used during upgrades. The Grand Rapids case study examines how the city leveraged existing community concerns including crumbling roads and aging storm water infrastructure to also address and reduce the city’s vulnerability to climate change. 

What have other communities done?

  • Cleveland, Ohio:  Focused on its neighborhood revitalization through a citywide climate action plan geared to leverage existing funds to fight economic decline, reduce greenhouse emissions and more
  • Chula Vista, CA:  Implemented a cool roofs ordinance and a shade tree policy to reduce the vulnerability to warming temperatures and “the urban heat island effect”
  • Fort Collins, CO: Updated its policy to reduce water use quickly during a severe drought and reduce water use through water conservation programs
  • Tulsa, OK: Began a program to acquire repeatedly flooded properties, moved the buildings and converted the flood-prone areas to parks and other public areas

The report calls on communities to act now in developing a plan and process to reduce current and future risks and build a more resilient community for the future.

Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Cross-sector leveraging: Address problematic conditions such as infrastructure by enhancing community support and facilitating progress
  • Consider the needs of more-vulnerable community members: Climate adaptation actions should address the needs of everyone, especially low-income people and those already affected by pollution
  • Engagement to build community support: Focused outreach campaigns can bring everyone to the table on this issue, leading to a more productive development of a plan
  • Consider using natural systems: Forests, floodplains, rivers and more can play a vital role in reducing the impact of climate change on community infrastructure and resources

As cities like Grand Rapids have leveraged infrastructure needs to also address potential climate-related issues, we may find similar opportunities through the recommendations from the governor's 21st Century Infrastructure Commission's report that's being released December 5. 

As for the climate adaptation study, the researchers recommend everyone takes a deep dive into the full report to see the complete scope of actions, takeaways from the in-depth case studies and the comprehensive list of recommendations from the study. 

Read the full report: Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities

Want an in-depth look at environmental and health issues in our state? Check out the Health Funders Affinity Group and the Green and Blue Network, a learning community for foundations interested in the environment.







Michigan Women’s Foundation partners to bring girls’ figure skating leadership program to Detroit

Excerpted from a WXYZ article, read the full story here.

Figure Skating in Harlem, a national figure skating program for girls is coming to Detroit, making the Motor City its first satellite academic, figure skating and leadership program.

The Michigan Women’s Foundation is serving as a strategic leadership and education partner and providing Figure Skating in Detroit space in its downtown offices.

“This is a youth development opportunity for Detroit’s young women, wrapped around the fun, artistry and discipline of figure skating,” Geneva Williams, director, Figure Skating in Detroit said.

Within the first year the program is expected to serve 300 Detroit girls with STEM coursework, entrepreneurship, self-esteem and health workshops, summer camps, skating shows and a figure skating after-school program.

Read more about the program on the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s website.


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