The State of American Philanthropy: Giving for Southern California
The State of American Philanthropy is a series of background papers on important topics and trends in U.S. philanthropy. The papers draw on past research and reporting by IP writers, as well as new interviews, grantmaking data, and other sources.
It’s difficult to describe Southern California philanthropy in monolithic terms, given the vast size of the region and the significant diversity among its many counties. Dominated by greater Los Angeles, as the county and its immediate surrounds are known, Southern California also encompasses the orchards and agricultural fields of Ventura County, inland areas growing in population but less so in giving; wealthy
enclaves like Santa Barbara and Orange counties, and San Diego, with its international border region. Great fortunes have been made by individuals here in a wide range of industries but, surprisingly to some, entertainment money is not yet a dominating force in the philanthropic community. Still, it does have impact, and that impact shows signs of enormous potential.
The region is highly complex and diverse, and so are some of its most intractable challenges. Homelessness continues to grow, despite the efforts of government and philanthropy. The high cost of living and everwidening income inequality continue to play into the homelessness problem and show no signs of abating. Add the impact of climate change, exemplified in the growing number of catastrophic wildfires in the
region, and it’s clear that the challenges to philanthropy are significant.