In the 2018 edition of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Our Region, Our Giving report, we take a look at WRAG member giving in the Greater Washington region in 2017. This snapshot of our membership’s philanthropy represents over $217.6 million in giving to nonprofit organizations that serve the region and nearly $3.6 billion in assets.
In this report, we take a closer look at a particular tool in the philanthropic toolbox: impact investing. Foundations hold incredible wealth, but are only required to pay out five percent of their assets each year. We wanted to find out how our members are putting their endowment dollars – the other 95 percent of their assets – to work in the community. Fifty-nine percent of our survey respondents are currently engaged in impact investing or are actively seeking to become engaged. It’s a relative new practice among local funders: of those are currently impact investing, 60 percent of them made their first investment within the last five years.
In addition, we took a look at what kinds of activities WRAG members are engaged in to advance racial equity in their grantmaking and within their own institutions. In a sign that this is a growing priority within the local philanthropic community, 73 percent of survey respondents reported seeking learning opportunities for their staff and leadership around racial equity – a 143 percent increase over what we found last year. Roughly a third of respondents are taking more substantive steps around changing their grantmaking priorities, collecting demographic data from grantees, and publicly committing to addressing to racial equity.
Other findings of particular note in this year’s report include:
- 80 percent of respondents provided general operating support in 2017.
- Education, children, youth and families, and health were the issue areas that most WRAG members supported in 2017.
- 70 percent of respondents plan to increase the amount of capital to impact investing strategies over the next two years.