We are pleased to bring you the 2019 edition of Our Region, Our Giving, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ annual report on our members’ philanthropy in the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland. Over the past summer, we surveyed our membership on their 2018 giving and assets, the strategies they employ to achieve their philanthropic goals, and the changes they anticipate for their institutions over the next year. These funders represent a cross-section of the region’s philanthropic community, including independent, family, corporate, community, and public foundations, as well as corporate giving programs. While they have a diverse set of programmatic and geographic priorities, and a range of resources dedicated to philanthropy, they are united by a common commitment to WRAG’s mission of improving the health and vitality of the region and all who live here.
In this year’s report, which captures over $255 million in local giving, we highlight several trends within the region’s philanthropic community:
- Giving rose in 2018. Half of funders surveyed increased their giving in 2018 compared to 2017, resulting in a 23 percent increase in overall giving among survey respondents.
- Education, children and youth, and health continue to be areas of greatest interest. While these overall programmatic priorities are unlikely to change, well over half of funders surveyed indicated that they intend to re-evaluate their grantmaking strategies in the year ahead.
- Racial equity continues to be of interest and concern among WRAG’s members. Funders are adopting new methods as they apply a racial equity lens to grantmaking and practices within their institutions.
- Lastly, as we head into 2020, we take a look at how a number of local funders are coming together to respond to the unprecedented challenges facing the decennial census.
We hope that this report will provide a timely snapshot of institutional philanthropy in our region, and offer insight into the priorities and practices of some of the most committed and engaged funders in the Greater Washington region.