Communities in Crisis: How Donors are Responding to COVID-19

Touching every corner of the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on communities close to home and around the world. This report, based on an analysis of Fidelity Charitable donor activity, demonstrates how many are turning to philanthropy to assist those facing medical or economic crisis.

Donors took action to support basic human needs

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted massive layoffs and left millions facing economic devastation. As the impacts of the virus reverberated across the country, donors stepped up support for organizations in the Human Services charitable sector—which provide basic, daily care like food and shelter.

Most popular charitable sector in each state

2019

United States map showing that Religion was the most popular charitable sector in the majority of states in the first four months of 2019. Human Services was most popular in seven, while Education was most popular in four.

2020

United States map showing that Human Services was the most popular charitable sector in 21 states in the first four months of 2020 as the pandemic spread and support for food banks increased. Religion was most popular in the remainder of states.

667%

Donors increased grant recommendations to free food programs by 667% over the previous year.

38 states

The most popular nonprofit among donors in 38 states and Washington, D.C. was a local food bank.

NATIONAL

Support for other causes remained consistent

 

Donors generally maintained their normal granting activity to issue areas outside the Human Services sector. Rather than redistributing their support to Human Services organizations from other charities, donors simply increased their overall support so they could address pandemic-related needs. 

REGIONAL

Granting across the country

Donors in all corners of the United States turned to philanthropy to support vulnerable populations and those struggling most amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mid-Atlantic Region

Total granting

$520.2 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$46.6 million

Midwest Region

Total granting

$339.8 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$32 million

Northeast Region

Total granting

$393.6 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$24.6 million

Pacific Region

Total granting

$503.7 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$55.6 million

Rocky Mountain Region

Total granting

$177 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$4.2 million

Southeast Region

Total granting

$233.8 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$10.9 million

Southwest Region

Total granting

$180.5 million


COVID-19 relief granting

$9.8 million

Read more about how donors are responding to COVID-19, including a state-by-state breakdown of the data.

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Additional insights

How to help?

Check out our charitable giving guidance to help support medical relief efforts as well as the communities and people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who we are

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that offers one of the nation’s largest donor-advised fund programs, making charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective.