Philanthropic response in the U.S. Southwest to the crises of 2020

Philanthropic response in the U.S. Southwest to the crises of 2020

Publication date: 
July, 2021

Survey Snapshot of U.S. Southwest Philanthropic Response to the Events of 2020

A Companion Report Looking at Foundations’ Response to COVID and Racial Equity and Justice

This spring Philanthropy Southwest partnered with University of Texas RGK Center CONNECT Program in conducting a brief survey to understand how member foundations responded to the crises of 2020. This study included 100 randomly selected member foundations across the Southwest region in five states. While this survey yielded almost a 25% response rate, the data sample is consistent with global trends. Below are the key takeaways from this survey.
Key takeaways regarding the COVID-19 response included:

  • The majority of respondents reported shifts in funding priorities in response to COVID.
  • 77% of foundations shifted 1-50% of their funding priorities towards COVID relief and recovery efforts.
  • A smaller percentage (9%) reported shifting more than half of their funding priorities towards COVID.
  • A little more than half of this funding was directed towards non-health related programs and services delivery such as food, housing, etc.
  • 19% was directed towards health-related programs (such as providing PPE, vaccinations, etc.).
  • An even smaller percentage (11%) was given towards community building and organizing.

Key takeaways regarding the response to racial equity & justice were:

  • 26% of foundations shifted up to half their funding priorities towards racial equity and justice.
  • Only 5% of foundations increased their total grantmaking budgets following the unrest last year after George Floyd’s death.
  • 47% of respondents anticipated up to half of their 2021 grantmaking budget going towards racial equity and justice work.
This report also spotlights some of the innovative responses from Southwest foundations in response to COVID and racial justice.  Click PDF below to read the full report and click here to view the data dashboard powered by UpMetrics.


“Always question if, as allies, are we doing things the most effective way possible, if we are inserting ourselves into the hard conversations, if we're willing to have those hard conversations.”
-- Heather Palacios, Coretz Family Foundation

“We CAN move fast. Philanthropy often has a reputation for moving slowly but we can respond by adjusting and adapting. We shouldn’t have to wait for a crisis to make these changes.”
-- Amy Latham, The Colorado Health Foundation
“We were very intentional to not make this about any of one of us, but to keep in mind that North Texas Cares is first about the community that we serve, and as funders, we are all equal partners.”
-- Wende Burton, Communities Foundation of Texas

PDF icon Companion Report - FINAL.pdf300.79 KB
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