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More Foundations Allocating Substantial Grants That Benefit The Poor, Women And Other Underserved Communities

Social justice nonprofits saw more philanthropy dollars

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Foundation grants that intentionally prioritize or empower underserved communities increased modestly in recent years, according to two new studies released today by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP;, the country's independent watchdog of philanthropy.

 " The Philanthropic Landscape: The State of Giving to Underserved Communities," ( ) reports that the proportion of foundation grant dollars classified as benefitting economically disadvantaged people, the elderly, women and girls and other marginalized groups was 40 percent in the 2008 to 2010 time period, up from 33 percent in 2004 to 2006.

Giving to empower these underserved groups increased from 12 percent of grant dollars in 2004-2006 to 15 percent in 2008-2010, according to " The State of Social Justice Philanthropy" (  

"We're seeing slow but steady progress in a positive direction," said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. "The data suggest that our nation's grantmaking foundations may be realizing that they can achieve their missions more effectively and also serve the common good by prioritizing and empowering those with the least wealth, opportunity and power."

Other key findings noted in the studies include:

  • One in six funders allocated at least 50 percent of their grant dollars to benefit marginalized communities.
  • Funding to benefit the poor doubled in terms of raw dollars and increased from 20 percent to 31 percent of total giving.
  • Social justice grants as a share of total giving decreased among community foundations, operating foundations and grantmakers in the South but increased among large funders.
  • Eight percent of foundations in the sample reported giving more than 25 percent of grant dollars for social justice.

Among the top funders giving the most total grant dollars to intentionally benefit underserved communities were the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.

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