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Who Benefits? Why Effective Grantmakers Pay Attention to Demographics

March 18, 2013 | By NEH Staff


"The 2012 elections showed that politicians ignore the changing demographics of our nation at their own peril. The same is true for philanthropy."

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy "has recommended that individual foundations allocate at least 50 percent of grant dollars for marginalized communities (NCRP tracks giving to 11 underserved communities, but grantmakers may well encounter other types of marginalization – for example, overlooked rural areas or religious minorities – which merit their attention). The share of foundation dollars reported as going to marginalized communities increased from 33 to 40 percent. However, if the nation’s largest grantmaker, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is excluded from the analysis, the increase in the share of giving to marginalized communities is less dramatic (29 percent to 31 percent). The median foundation gave just 24 percent of grant dollars to marginalized communities."