Philanthropy Under a Trump Presidency: Nonprofits Prepare for Challenges Ahead

The upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump has left many philanthropists wondering what to expect for the next four years and how to respond accordingly. Although it remains unclear to what extent he will carry through with his promises, the nonprofit sector is anticipating changes to the following issues based upon Trump’s remarks throughout the campaign and presidential transition.

• Reduced Federal Spending

Many nonprofit organizations have begun preparing for federal spending cuts to health care, housing, and education, among others. Human services and health nonprofits are particularly wary, as government spending currently accounts for 47% and 37% of their revenues respectively.

• Immigrants and Refugees

Anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric was featured prominently in Trump’s campaign, leaving many advocates concerned over heightened restrictions and regulations. As the civil war in Syria escalates, humanitarian groups such as Amnesty International and Mercy Corps plan to take a more assertive stance with their policy views and research. Los Angeles, a sanctuary city to immigrants since 1979, has announced that it will create a $10 million legal aid fund for residents at risk of deportation.

• Minorities, LGBTQ, and Women

Advocates for racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and women’s issues are apprehensive of potential policy changes as well as Trump and Pence’s perceived hostility towards these groups. Nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Planned Parenthood have seen a surge in donations since the election, as their supporters anticipate challenges under the next administration.

• Environmental Protection

Environmental nonprofits are particularly concerned over Donald Trump’s dismissal of climate change and the Paris climate accord, along with his appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Major groups including The Nature Conservancy, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club are positioning themselves to resist deregulation to environmental safeguards and pollution limits under a Trump administration. This conflict has already been evident through the protests over the Dakota Access pipeline. Although the Army Corps of Engineers announced in December that it would halt construction while it considers an alternative route, Donald Trump has said that he supports completing the pipeline.

• Rural Americans

The election of Donald Trump has also forced some philanthropists to reconsider the locality of their giving. Last year the Department of Agriculture found that only 6% of grants from the country’s 1,200 largest foundations went to rural health and development. The Department of Agriculture also noted that in every region of America, poverty rates were higher in rural areas than urban ones. For some organizations, such as the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the election has prompted them to re-evaluate their patterns of giving.

Read more at the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Inside Philanthropy.