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Philanthropy Trends in 2024: What we can hope to see from private and family foundations.

As we head into a new year it is often time for two things: resolutions, and predictions for what it to come ahead.  While no-one has a crystal ball, I’d like to look at some of the philanthropy trends in 2024 that we are likely to see, along with a few that I hope to see more of in the philanthropy and foundation world.

Quelles tendances dans la philanthropie en 2024

Foundations, just like businesses and start-ups are forced to work in a world with changing societal values, technological advancements, global challenges, environmental changes, and the economic fluctuations that come as a result.


Foundations differ however in how they can approach these issues – whether it be internally via inter-generational boards, or externally in the communities around them. Foundations, and philanthropy are managed by a different set of rules, and for family and private foundations in particular, this often means a high level of acceptance when it comes to risk.  Let me be clear – this is NOT to say they are reckless with their endowments or grants, but that they will fund new, innovative but unproven programs that could lead to more effective problem resolution in the future.

So here are some of what I suspect will be the key philanthropy trends in 2024 that will shape the private foundation sector:

1. Tech-Driven Strategic Giving


In 2024, we can expect a surge in tech-driven platforms and tools designed to streamline the grant-making process, making it more accessible and efficient. Blockchain technology is being explored to enhance transparency in charitable transactions, ensuring that grants reach their intended recipients. Artificial intelligence is also finding applications in analyzing data to identify areas where philanthropic efforts can have the most significant impact.


Private foundations will continue to look at how to leverage technology to enhance their decision-making and impact assessment processes. This trend reflects a commitment to optimizing the effectiveness of grants and maximizing positive outcomes but will not be the only factor in grant giving decision-making. The human element remains key.


2. Impact-Focused Endowment Management


In 2024, we will hopefully see more private foundations embrace impact-focused endowment management as a strategic investment approach. Beyond traditional grant-making, foundations are recognizing the potential to generate both financial returns and positive social or environmental impact through their endowments. This approach aligns with the growing belief that endowment assets can be a force for good, contributing to a foundation's mission while maintaining financial sustainability.


Impact investing within private foundations may involve supporting ventures that align with their mission, such as investing in sustainable development projects or enterprises that prioritize ethical practices. This dual-purpose approach reflects a holistic view of philanthropy, encompassing both grant-making and impactful financial stewardship.


3. Strategic Collaboration between Foundations and Other Stakeholders


Private foundations in 2024 are anticipated to engage in strategic collaborations with other sector stakeholders, focusing on targeted initiatives that align with their mission and values. These collaborations go beyond traditional grantee relationships and involve partnerships with other intermediary forganizations, such as think tanks, and research institutions.


This can also mean partnering with other foundations, governments, and CSO’s (civil society organizations) to pool resources, share expertise, and collectively address complex global issues. By strategically collaborating with entities that possess unique expertise, foundations can amplify the impact of their philanthropic efforts and contribute to meaningful, lasting change.


4. A rise in Systems Change and Trust-Based Philanthropy


Within private foundations, a pronounced trend is the emphasis on systems change and trust-based philanthropy. Both will require more leeway as to spending and donation allocation, more multi-year funding, more capacity building funding.

Systems change has a particularly long-term time horizon as the approach tackles the root causes of societal issues rather than addressing their symptoms.


This strategic shift involves investing in projects that aim to transform entire systems, creating sustainable solutions that impact society, and goes hand in hand with point 3 – more collaboration between stakeholders. Systems change affects society at multiple levels, and thus can include policy and legislation change.  This trend underscores the commitment of private foundations to create enduring impact through thoughtful and strategic interventions.


5. More support for Mental-Health and the Environment


We are fully into the “great wealth transfer” and are seeing more and more generational change within foundations. With new generations, comes new concerns and thus new centers of focus for private foundations.  Mental-health and the environment are two issues of concern to the younger generations, who are raising their voices and using the power of their family foundations to fund possible solutions.


As we face the consequences of global warming and see the changes in attitudes of the newer generations as to how they wish to live their lives and careers, the new generation of philanthropists are sure to bring these two issues to the forefront.

So what does all this mean?

Well, we’ll have to see how the year progresses to know.


But I think it is a safe to predict that private foundations will continue paving the way for a more nuanced, impactful, and enduring form of philanthropy. In doing so, they will continue to contribute significantly to building a compassionate and sustainable future, embodying a commitment to positive change.


Thinking of launching your own philanthropic project, or looking for ways to evolve your foundation or endowment fund?  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me.


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