Global philanthropic giving in support of COVID-19 response and relief efforts during the first half of 2020 totaled more than $11.9 billion, a report from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and Candid finds.
Based on Candid data, the report, Philanthropy and COVID-19 in the First Half of 2020 (20 pages, PDF), found that corporate giving accounted for 66 percent of total dollars pledged or awarded (including in-kind contributions), 11 percent of the number of donations, and 57 percent of the number of donors. Corporate foundations comprised 14 percent of all corporate giving. Independent foundations, the next largest category in dollar terms, accounted for 14 percent of dollars, 19 percent of donations, and 16 percent of donors, followed by high-net-worth individuals (13 percent of dollars, 1 percent of donations, and 5 percent of donors), grantmaking public charities (3 percent of dollars, 20 percent of donations, and 10 percent of donors), and operating foundations (3 percent of dollars and less than 1 percent each of donations and donors). While community foundations accounted for just 1 percent of dollars committed, they awarded the largest number of grants (49 percent) and represented 12 percent of the donors.
Among independent foundations, top funders of global COVID-19 initiatives include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($355 million), Open Society Foundations ($130 million), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($113.1 million), while organizations and initiatives receiving the most institutional funding include the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator ($172 million), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance ($115 million), and E4E Relief ($75 million).
The report also highlights trends in philanthropic responses to the global health crisis, including efforts among U.S. foundations to provide flexible funding, increase grantmaking, and/or call for higher payout requirements. At the same time, the report’s authors note that only 3 percent of grant dollars in the data set were explicitly identified as flexible or unrestricted general support funding, and that only 5 percent of grant dollars that specified recipients identified Black, Indigenous or other communities of color as beneficiaries, despite these populations being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
To make COVID-19 funding more effective, the report calls on funders to provide unrestricted support, expand on existing giving, support local nonprofits that focus on communities of color and other vulnerable populations, give to community foundations’ response funds, partner with other funders, and fund land trusts to help create and maintain affordable housing.
“We have seen incredible generosity since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said CDP vice president Regine A. Webster, vice president of CDP, which as of June 30 had distributed more than $10 million through its COVID-19 Response Fund. “Yet, we in the philanthropic community must push ourselves to give more and give smarter. The economic, social, and health impacts of the pandemic will outpace every donated dollar unless we support the most vulnerable among us.”
For more information about the philanthropic response to the coronavirus, including a funding summary, a list of emergency resources for individuals and small businesses, and a list of funds established in response to the pandemic, visit Candid’s COVID-19 page.