Stanford Social Innovation Review: The Investment Gap that Threatens the Planet

On the opportunity of philanthropic investors they write...

"Charitable investors are uniquely positioned to design and support the new financial vehicle that the planet needs to play a critical role in mitigating the risk of investing in nascent solutions for larger institutional investors. In the United States, this group of charitable investors includes private, corporate, or community grant-making foundations; grant-making public charities; donor-advised funds; and individual donors. In 2015, US-based private foundations combined for a whopping $600 billion in assets under management (AUM), roughly $50 billion of which is granted annually. The top 10 US corporate foundations alone have approximately $10 billion in AUM, and annual corporate giving among all US corporate foundations is approximately $19 billion.

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) have continued to increase in popularity over the past 10 years; today, DAFs have approximately $70 billion in AUM and grant $13 billion annually. The 800 community foundations in the United States, which manage DAFs, grant roughly $5 billion of the $13 billion granted from DAFs annually. These numbers do not include important charitable actors such as family offices, households, and individuals that might not use a foundation or DAF structure. Individual philanthropists are critically important: In the United States in 2015, 72 percent of all charitable giving came from individuals, according to the National Philanthropic Trust."

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