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Stories from the Frontier: Breakthroughs, Challenges, and Recommendations from the First Five Years of Open 990 Data

April 6, 2022

Open data projects have been in existence for decades, especially as the amount of data stored on computers throughout the world has skyrocketed. Accessibility to that data is at the heart of these efforts, as public and private entities work to make data freely available and useful to the public. Also critical is the role that freely available data in general -- and public or government data in particular — play in accountability and transparency in government, as well as increasing both public participation and public awareness. As one interviewee noted, "Data makes it clear that the earth rotates around the sun — not the sun around the earth. Data can lay plain the places where our worldview needs to change."The Open 990 Project of the Aspen Institute and its partners represents a giant leap forward, providing nonprofits a connected, data-informed future. After only five years, there are compelling examples available from individuals, nonprofits, and collaboratives alike of how the Open 990 Project is seeding and empowering change throughout the nonprofit sector. A large number of websites, projects, researchers, governments, and companies are now using IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF data (hereafter, "990 data") to redesign how they work and how they engage with stakeholders.

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2022

January 18, 2022

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2022 examines topics including cryptocurrency, talent investment, the mobilization of donors of color, engagement with Indigenous communities, data philanthropy, culture wars, and more.

Analysis of Donor Advised Funds from a Community Foundation Perspective

June 21, 2021

The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) commissioned four studies between 2000 and 2016 to evaluate the required private foundation payout rate as well as hypothetical model portfolios and actual investment returns.In December 2020, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy (Johnson Center) at Grand Valley State University, in collaboration with Plante Moran Financial Advisors (PMFA), updated and expanded this research by using a comprehensive database of IRS Form 990-PF (private foundation) returns, adding international investments to the model portfolios, presenting actual payout rates of all private foundations in the dataset, and showing projections of how changes to the payout rate may affect future foundation assets. In March 2021, staff from the Johnson Center turned their focus to community foundations and completed a similar analysis — the first of its kind in the CMF foundation study series.Similar to its earlier private and community foundation report counterparts, this report provides new information to the field. To study donor advised funds (DAFs), the project team leveraged the Johnson Center's comprehensive database of IRS Form 990 filings for summary statistics. The team supplemented that dataset by partnering with CMF to obtain account-level information about the more than 2,600 DAFs housed at Michigan's community foundations. That account-level detail was used to calculate individual DAF investment returns, contribution and distribution flows, and payout rates for the years 2017–2020.

An Evaluation of Private Foundation Model Portfolios, Investment Returns, & Payout Rates

March 1, 2021

The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) commissioned four prior studies between 2000 and 2016 to evaluate the required private foundation payout rate as well as hypothetical model portfolios and actual investment returns.In 2020, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy (Johnson Center), in collaboration with Plante Moran Financial Advisors (PMFA), updated and expanded this research by using a comprehensive database of IRS Form 990-PF (private foundation) returns, adding international investments to the model portfolios, presenting actual payout rates of all private foundations in the data set, and showing projections of how changes to the payout rate may affect future foundation assets.

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2021

January 1, 2021

11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2021 is the fifth edition of this annual report. You'll find among these essays that the critical questions we face in the aftermath of the chaos and trauma of 2020 are ones the sector has been wrestling with for years, but must now address more forcefully, including:the sprawling impacts of wealth inequality;significant declines in public trust in institutions and in each other;the bright and dark sides of technological proliferation; andthe systemic racism permeating so many aspects of our society and democracy.Each of these trends has real implications for our day-to-day work, how we carry out our missions, and how we broaden our frame on public good. Many of our colleagues and communities have been hard at work on these issues for years, even generations. Others have embraced shifts in focus and practice in response to a remarkable year. This work gives us hope, and we'll be keeping an eye out to see whether these shifts prove permanent or more temporary.

Global Giving Circles

December 21, 2020

This is a very relevant study which highlights how this new, more democratic, and local form of giving is spreading. There are 426 giving circles (GC) outside the US and estimate that in 2018 they gave away a combined $45.74 million in grants and involved 42,200 members. Among many of the specific findings, we found global GCs to be more frequently connected to a GC network and more often to be independently run (vs hosted) than their US counterparts, to be overwhelmingly local in their focus, and overall much younger than their US counterparts with 92% founded in the last decade. 

Economic Inclusion in Grand Rapids

April 1, 2020

This report presents an updated review of progress toward economic inclusion in the Grand Rapids, Mich.area. It summarizes the changes between data reported by Dr. Mark White of the Center for Regional Analysisat George Mason University and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Addressing Economic Inclusion in Grand Rapids (2016) and the most recently available data obtained from public sources — primarily comparing data from 2014 to 2018. Data are displayed in various geographic groupings and disaggregated by demographic characteristics for comparison. This report, sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is intended to aid ongoing strategy development for promoting inclusive growth in the Grand Rapids area.

Economic Inclusion in Grand Rapids Data Update - Executive Summary

April 1, 2020

This report presents an updated review of progress toward economic inclusion in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. It summarizes the changes between data reported by Dr. Mark White of the Center for Regional Analysisat George Mason University and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Addressing EconomicInclusion in Grand Rapids (2016) and the most recently available data obtained from public sources — primarily comparing data from 2014 to 2018. Data are displayed in various geographic groupings and disaggregated by demographic characteristics for comparison. This report, sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is intended to aid ongoing strategy development for promoting inclusive growth in the Grand Rapids area.

Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler

September 24, 2015

Whatever the impetus for the trip, many who travel contribute to the destinations they visit. Their contributions, in the form of volunteer time, monetary or in-kind donations-- and even their everyday spending-- impact not just the local populace but also the wider economy in their destination. Nearly half of travelers think it is very or extremely important for their travel dollars-- whether travel spend or donations-- to benefit the communities they visit. This report takes a holistic look at the charitable dispositions and giving practices of U.S. leisure travelers to learn about their behavior as it relates to charitable giving linked to their travel. It includes their motivations and influences, philanthropic intentions and their bearing on consumer buying decisions, trip satisfaction and post-trip charitable activities.

The Future of Family Philanthropy: Predicting and Preparing

September 19, 2014

There is little dispute that philanthropy is undergoing a profound change. Traditional foundation grantmaking, and giving from perpetually endowed advised funds, are now just two options among a growing array of methods that family donors and social entrepreneurs can use to create impact. New organizational forms, new types of social investment, and new collaborations are part of an ambitious, boundary-blurring experiment in innovation for good. While many family donors are wary of these new approaches, looking for more information before venturing into the new spaces, others have become pioneers and are eager to share their experiences.

Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy

July 19, 2013

The next generations of major philanthropists come from "Gen X" (born 1964-1989) or "Gen Y/Millenial" (born 1981-2000). Although they are a relatively small group, they will inherit over $40 trillion; donate much of it; and shape the future of philanthropy. Results were drawn from a national online survey (310 total responses) and 30 in-depth interviews, to find out how next gen donors express themselves and their philanthropic strategies (as opposed to summarizing what others have said about this influential group). Study participants ranged in age from 21 to 40 when the study was conducted in 2012. KEY FINDINGS:1. Driven by Values, Not Valuables. They are mindful of their inherited privileges and respectful of their family's legacy. This group of donors uses new philanthropic and investing tools. 2. Impact First: They want impact they can see, and they want to know that their own involvement has contributed to that impact. They want to use any necessary strategies, assets, and tools -- new or old -- for greater impact.3. Time, Talent, Treasure, and Ties: They want to meaningfully participate by sharing their personal and professional talents, and through collaboration with peers, with whom they are highly networked. 4. Crafting Their Philanthropic Identities: Many are in their twenties and developing a sense of themselves in tandem with who they are as donors. They learn and grow by seeing and doing. Their philanthropic identity formation matters societally to all who are affected by major philanthropy.

2013 Nonprofit Needs Assessment: A Profile of Michigan's Most Crucial Professional Development Needs

June 11, 2013

A new study from Grand Valley State University's School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy reveals trends in the kind of professional development programming nonprofit organizations in Michigan need.There are over 48,000 nonprofits operating in the state Michigan, employing over 375,000 nonprofit workers. While many industries are struggling in Michigan,the nonprofit sector continues to grow at a rate of 1.3 percent per year. The demand for nonprofit services is also rising and nonprofit workers must work longer hours and take on additional responsibilities to meet increasing demands.Nonprofit and philanthropic employers are recognizing that in order to reduce employee burnout and turnover as well as maintain positive employee morale, they must provide professional development opportunities to their staff. These opportunities can take place internal or external to the organization. Wherever the professional development takes place, it provides many positive benefits to employees, volunteers and organizations.