Research Round Robin: October 2018

Since our September roundup of research, we’ve seen a whole lot of significant research. This month’s roundup includes a substantial amount of new analysis on economic mobility across geographic and racial lines, a landmark study on climate change, an annual report on nonprofit compensation, a study over a nine-year period on funding to nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure organizations, and a new report on scaling solutions for addressing global issues.

Race, Wealth and Taxes: How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Supercharges the Racial Wealth Divide

A new report released last week by Prosperity Now and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy analyzed the effects, by race, of the $1.5 trillion cuts under new tax law. The report, called Race, Wealth and Taxes: How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Supercharges the Racial Wealth Divide, is the first detailed analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act across racial groups. The report found that the impact of the law continues a longstanding trend of racial economic inequality in the U.S. As such, it disproportionately helps white Americans over Black and Latinx Americans. The analysis estimates that white Americans will experience $218 billion in cuts as a result of the law, while Black and Latinx Americans combined will only see about $32 billion in cuts from the new law.

More on the report:
White Americans Gain the Most from Trump’s Tax Cuts, a Report Finds

Boston’s Booming…But For Whom?

Like the Race, Wealth, and Taxes report, a report released in early October by The Boston Foundation illustrates a similar racial prosperity divide. Although Boston has one of the highest rates of economic mobility in the country (second only to San Francisco and tied with Minneapolis), the city’s booming economic outlook doesn’t hold up across neighborhoods, gender, and race. Though the city boasts low incarceration rates, universal health care, high minimum wage, offsetting factors like high housing costs, segregated neighborhoods, and an outdated transit system remain an economic barrier to people of color. One of the sources The Boston Foundation’s report analyzed is a new tool that was released to the public at the beginning of October, and is also featured in this month’s collection of research.

More on the report:
In Boston, the middle class is shrinking, and it’s harder to get ahead than it used to be

Global Warming of 1.5 °C

A landmark United Nations report paints a picture of the immediate consequences of climate change that are far more dire than previously thought. Avoiding lasting damage will, according to the report’s authors, require transforming the world economy at an unprecedented speed and scale. At the current rate, greenhouse gas emissions are on pace to warm the atmosphere by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, a threshold that would usher in severe consequences scientists previously thought possible under a global temperature rise of a full 2 degrees Celsius about preindustrial levels. If the 1.5-degree threshold is blown by 2040, cooling technology could reverse some effects of the warmup, but other effects like mass coral reef die-off would be irreversible.

More on the report:
Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

U.S. Foundation Funding for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Infrastructure

Earlier in October, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Foundation Center developed a framework to map the composition of support for nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure organizations. The study examined more than 21,000 infrastructure-related grants made between 2004 and 2015 by more than 800 funders to more than 500 organizations. With the belief that the services infrastructure organizations provide are essential to a thriving civil society, the Foundation Center sought to analyze the infrastructure funding composition to understand how to help better align and improve efforts supporting the infrastructure space and, by extension, those it serves nationwide.

2018 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report

At the end of September, GuideStar launched their 2018 Nonprofit Compensation Report. GuideStar has been releasing this annual compensation analysis now for 18 years, and it remains the only one of its scale for nonprofits based entirely on IRS data. Thousands of nonprofits use the report to benchmark compensation practices, determine compensation for specific positions, and protect their leaders from IRS penalties. Some of the highlights from the 2018 report, derived from compensation data for fiscal year 2016 form more than 112,000 nonprofits, include:

  • Incumbent CEO compensation increases in 2016 approached pre-Great Recession levels.
  • Thought the newest figures represented greater parity for women than previous years, the gender gap in CEO compensation persisted.
  • More women headed nonprofits.
  • Mission affected compensation levels, with science and health organizations leading in median salary. Religion and animal-related organizations had the lowest median salaries.
  • Dedicated HR and IT positions were more likely to appear as organization size grew.

The Opportunity Atlas

A new online data tool created by a team of researchers led by Harvard economist Raj Chetty is changing how researchers think about economic mobility. The tool demonstrates a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream. In an interview with NPR published October 1, the day The Opportunity Atlas became available to the public, Chetty noted an important shift in the prevailing narrative about economic mobility in the U.S. That is, while people born in the 1940s and 1950s were virtually guaranteed to out-earn their parents, people born in the mid-1980s are half as likely to do so, and where people grow up has become a much stronger determinant of people’s economic prospects.

More on the report:
The American Dream Is Harder to Find In Some Neighborhoods

Leveraging Government Partnerships for Scaled Impact

In September, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Skoll Foundation released the second report in their scaling solutions series, Approaches for Impact, Approaches for Learning. The report addresses the social impact that comes from collaboration and pooling philanthropic and impact investing funds and resources, illustrated through a variety of examples of collaborations formed to address global issues like climate action and immigration. The previous report in the series featured case studies highlighting how funders had helped or hindered the efforts of organizations that had scaled solutions. Using those case studies, this new report highlights effective practices and funder collaboratives that are gaining momentum.

Add Your Voice

The research summaries above are by no means an exhaustive list of the newest information out there to help us better understand the nonprofit landscape. So if we missed a report you think we should know and share about, let us know by leaving a comment!

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Data, Environment, International and Foreign Affairs, IS Member, Organizational Relationships, Public Policy, Race, Equity, and Inclusion, Voices for Good