Philanthropy 2017: Rapid Response Giving in the Trump Era

Donors on both an individual and institutional level have become increasingly responsive with their giving over the past ten months, often reacting swiftly to policy changes and public statements made by members of the Trump administration. The year began with the January travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations, which prompted a surge of $24 million in donations to the ACLU over a single weekend. The Trump agenda has faced similar push-back from donors following the announcement to exit the Paris climate accord, proposed budged cuts to public arts funding, and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to a survey from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, close to 30 percent of foundations have shifted programmatic goals in response to the new administration.

This trend has continued into more recent months, as philanthropists mobilize against the administration's decision to end DACA protections for immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors. The affinity group Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), which has received support from the Ford Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, is directing emergency funding toward extending work permits that would allow DACA recipients to remain in the country for an additional two years. The upcoming October 5th DACA deadline has served as a challenge for larger institutions, such as the Carnegie Corporation. As director Geri Mannion explains, Carnegie has made a deliberate effort to “directly support many litigation and legal services organizations with general support so that they can be nimble in responding in times like these.” The Sobrato Family Foundation recently announced that it would also also be creating a $150,000 fund dedicated to covering DACA application fees for their existing grantees: "Our staff and board members do not want local nonprofit partners and people you serve to feel pressure to compete for national funds... We are upholding the bond of community by making sure you have local resources for this critical work.”

Read more at Inside Philanthropy.