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Big Philanthropy Supports Economic Recovery

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer of Schmidt Futures, Serve As Co-Chairs to launch Fund supporting Low-income, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, BIPOC, Young, Immigrant, Women, Caregivers, Disabled, and LGBTQ People

(Image credit: Families and Workers Fund)

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Families and Workers Fund (FWF) today announced the launch of a five-year collaborative philanthropy dedicated to building a more equitable economy that uplifts all. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation opening to improve the lives of workers and their families, FWF will work to deploy funding and build partnerships to help repair and reimagine the systems that fuel economic security, opportunity and mobility. The Fund seeks to advance jobs that sustain and uplift people and also invest in the development of a more inclusive, effective public benefits system, with a focus on unemployment insurance. It will be co-chaired by Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer, Schmidt Futures.

COVID-19 highlighted the struggles and inequities that have long plagued the United States. Prior to the pandemic, more than 40% of families could not afford the basics, from groceries to rent and child care. During the pandemic, layoffs fell hardest on those earning the least, with nearly half of the lowest-paid workers losing their jobs. Many have been locked out of the country’s recovery and prosperity, unable to access much-needed and deserved support to help their families weather a crisis. The social safety net and the economy can and should work for all people, especially those historically excluded from opportunity, including low-income communities, Black, indigenous, Latinx, other people of color (BIPOC), young people, immigrant families, women, caregivers, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people.

“The pandemic exposed what we’ve known for too long: our economy isn’t working for working people,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “But from one of the most painful, tragic chapters in American history, a watershed moment for recovery has emerged. We are proud to support the Families and Workers Fund, which is positioned to reimagine an equitable, worker-centered economy, with sustainable jobs and 21st century benefits as the engine.”

“When the pandemic struck, the Families and Workers Fund mobilized a network of partners, bet early and quickly on an approach to assist both people and small businesses in need, and worked to fill gaps in the benefit systems provided by government and business,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. “We’re proud to unite more than twenty diverse philanthropies to support the Fund’s critical and urgent mission—to create a more equitable recovery and prosperous economy for everyone.”

FWF was initially created in April 2020 as a short-term, rapid response effort with a mission to aid those disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. In 2020, the Fund was able to support grassroots and community nonprofits to help get cash transfers to 215,000 of the most vulnerable, hardest-hit families. The initiative unites diverse funders that bring complementary expertise in critical areas, such as technology excellence and government delivery; social justice and equity; workforce development and policy; and inclusive capitalism and business partnerships.

The collaborative is backed by an Executive Committee including Amalgamated Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Skoll Foundation and other major funders, including The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Jack Dorsey, JPB Foundation, Luminate, MacKenzie Scott, Morgan Stanley, Omidyar Network, Robin Hood, The Roger I. and The Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Today’s launch sets the stage for a new vision and for FWF to make philanthropic investments to accomplish two goals: 1) Advance jobs that sustain and uplift people; and 2) Invest in the continued development of a more inclusive, effective public benefits system, with a focus on unemployment insurance.

Recover Up: Jobs That Sustain and Uplift
In 2020, the lowest-wage workers lost nearly 8 million jobs, while the highest-wage workers gained nearly one million new jobs, with net job loss totalling nearly 6 million as of July 2021. FWF is working in partnership with federal, state, local government and businesses to deliver catalytic examples of high-quality job growth that are accessible to all. Recover Up aims to help deliver job pathways that enable economic security and mobility, leveraging billions in new federal and employer investments that have the potential to propel unprecedented scale.

21st Century Benefits: Benefits that Work for Everyone
Since early 2020, millions of workers have found themselves jobless, with lagging or no unemployment benefits. This unfortunate cycle continues to repeat itself each time the country is faced with a downturn, despite the data proving that governmental support enables individuals to return to the workforce while boosting the economy as a whole. By supporting government innovation, civic tech, and advocacy, the Fund and its partners will help repair and reimagine the public benefits system so that it better enables families to stay afloat, recover from crises, and equally prosper.

“It’s not good enough to go back to how things were before COVID-19,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Families and Workers Fund. “The unexpected, silver lining of this brutal pandemic is that we have all been reminded about how essential workers are.”

The Families and Workers Fund looks forward to working with businesses, governments, and workers to help build a more equitable economy. To become a grantee or a funder and learn more about the Families and Workers Fund, please visit

About Families & Workers Fund
Families and Workers Fund is the first national, multi-donor collaborative philanthropy dedicated to building a more equitable U.S. economy by advancing jobs that sustain and uplift people and a benefits system that better supports families during times of crisis. The Fund aims to shape the country’s economic recovery by fostering large-scale collaboration and directing grants to organizations committed to repairing and reimagining the systems that fuel equitable economic security and opportunity. Rachel Korberg is Executive Director and Co-Founder, with Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, CEO, Schmidt Futures as Co-Chairs. The organization’s Executive Committee includes the Amalgamated Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and the Skoll Foundation. The Fund is housed at the Amalgamated Foundation, sister philanthropic arm of Amalgamated Bank. For more information, visit


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One-third of donors directed half their giving to disaster relief | Philanthropy news

Last year, 37 percent of American donors gave half or more of their charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts, and 64 percent gave to a charity they had never supported before, a survey commissioned by Vanguard Charitable finds.

Conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Vanguard Charitable, the survey of more than 1,300 American donors found that the top reasons American donors gave to disaster relief included wanting to assist those impacted by humanitarian crises (46 percent), feeling overwhelmed by a situation and wanting to help (33 percent), seeing charitable giving as the only way they could provide support (30 percent), and having a personal connection to the disaster/crisis (30 percent). The survey found that donors who contributed to disaster relief efforts gave more overall, meaning that disaster relief giving did not take away from, or occur in place of, ongoing giving. 

“From COVID-19 to a devastating humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, we’ve seen donors respond to disaster relief needs in inspiring and meaningful ways,” said Vanguard Charitable president Rebecca Moffett. “In fact, this data reflects that disaster relief support is an integral part of the giving landscape, often increasing total generosity as donors look to give when and where support is needed most. And because the money in donor-advised funds has already been set aside for charitable purposes, donations from DAFs tend to be more responsive in moments of crisis, and more resilient during moments of economic uncertainty.”

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Trust in nonprofits fell slightly last year, survey finds | Philanthropy news

While there is room for U.S. institutions across the board to increase public trust, a majority of respondents believe nonprofits will do what is right for society, a survey conducted by Independent Sector finds. 

Conducted in February in partnership with Edelman Data & Intelligence, the third-annual Trust in Civil Society survey found that 56 percent of Americans said they trust nonprofits, down 3 percentage points from the 2020 benchmark study (59 percent). Trust in philanthropy edged down from 36 percent to 34 percent during the same period. According to the survey, financial well-being and education are major drivers of trust, and trust of nonprofits among women fell during the pandemic.

Given the findings, Independent Sector recommended that nonprofits work to make greater progress to support and strengthen the country, for example by leveraging trust in the social sector to strengthen U.S. democracy, deepening engagement with communities and institutions, and upholding public expectations of government accountability.

“Increasing public trust of institutions and the social sector is a pressing issue for the U.S. We all benefit from strong public trust,” said Independent Sector president and CEO Daniel J. Cardinali. “Trust is the priceless currency for nonprofits, philanthropies, business charity programs, and all of us to build a healthy, equitable society. We see what happens when trust breaks. Our 2022 Independent Sector Trust in Civil Society report elevates important data and recommendations for conversations about how the social sector can engage more deeply and do better so everyone in our country thrives.” 

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Digital, other channels of giving are expanding, study finds | Philanthropy news

Emerging trends in the United Kingdom and Brazil reveal an expansion of digital and other types of channels for giving, including online giving, crowdfunding, charity rounding up, and social impact publishing, a new research series from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI finds.

The research series, Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving, builds on the school’s Global Philanthropy Environment Index and Global Philanthropy Tracker and will be released in phases over the next five months. The first two studies examine philanthropic engagement in Brazil and the UK prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with profiles of China, India, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea to follow.

Based on an analysis of three case studies in Brazil, the first profile found that prominent emerging ways of giving include charity rounding up, crowdfunding, and social impact publishing, which involves the production of inspiring, revenue-producing editorial content. Donations collected through rounding up for charity via Arredondar increased from BRL1,091 in 2013 (equivalent to $590 in 2021, adjusted for inflation) to more than BRL1.6 million in 2020 (equivalent to $330,186 in 2021, adjusted for inflation). In addition, the study found that the most successful initiatives prioritized transparency and accountability in giving.

Based on an online survey of nearly 3,000 individuals in the UK, the profile found that prominent expanded methods of giving include online giving and crowdfunding. Among donors interviewed between May and July 2021, 60 percent reported that gifts they had made in the past year had been made online, with the most common way being through a third-party app. In addition, researchers found that 63 percent of people who used social media to request donations also made requests in person.

“The results of the first two country profiles suggest an evolution in giving practices and highlight a significant expansion of digital giving practices and peer-to-peer giving,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “While these findings are the first in a series, the documented growth in digital giving and shifting donor expectations in the UK and in Brazil reinforce existing evidence that digital practices can help democratize the practice of philanthropy. Digital innovation makes philanthropy accessible and fosters greater transparency and accountability for how gifts lead to impact.”

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