Leaders at one in four small foundations said the organization changed granting giving as a result of the 2016 elections, with more than half funding advocacy-related activities or increasing allocations to advocacy. Those decisions did not change with the 2018 mid-term elections. Exponent Philanthropy’s Pulse Check Survey of more than 450 small foundations showed 25 percent said they made changes, and among those, 54 percent said they began to fund advocacy or increased their allocation toward advocacy. “While the pace of change is often slow in philanthropy, this survey shows that philanthropy, particularly those who operate with few or no staff, can be nimble in responding to current events and the changing needs of a community,” said Henry Berman, chief executive officer of Washington, D.C.-based Exponent Philanthropy. Foundations are not legally allowed to engage in lobbying but they can commission nonpartisan data or fund public awareness campaigns, influence public policy or address causes of social issues. The survey was conducted after the 2018 mid-term elections and showed how changes in Washington, D.C., influenced philanthropic behavior or could affect giving in 2019. Other ways that grant makers said they had changed since 2016 included:
- Changing allocations to specific funding areas, 32 percent;
- Adding a new funding area, 30 percent;
- Giving more general operating grants, 29 percent; and,
- Giving more capacity building grants, 23 percent.