Progress For Liberty in 2016

At DonorsTrust, we aim to increase the contributions flowing into liberty-advancing non-profits. In 2016, we achieved that with our clients recommending more than $120 million in grants to nearly 600 organizations.

Those are some of the facts and figures we share in our latest Progress Report, which you can download here.

Last year’s grants  lifted us past $900 million in lifetime giving. The $138 million we received in contributions edged DonorsTrust (along with our sister organization, Donors Capital Fund) past the $1 billion mark in lifetime contributions to our donor-advised fund accounts.

Surprises Inside

As you read  the progress report, note some of the more interesting items from our year:

  • While it is true that the majority of our grants go to organizations in the public policy sphere, including public interest law groups, student programs, and think tanks, our clients frequently recommend grants to groups across the charitable universe. Each year, millions of dollars go to religious institutions, arts programs, civic organizations, and medical programs. Still, there is a common theme among all these organizations – they do not depend on government dollars to stay solvent and don’t work against the principles of liberty.
  • Our donor-advised funds are our core product, but some are surprised that we have variations among our donor-advised fund offerings. We have long offered Strategic Venture Funds to aid donors or social entrepreneurs raise a broad base of funds toward some policy or social change outcome. More recently, we launched our Novus Society program to provide a mechanism for the under 40 crowd to take steps toward being more strategic in their giving.
  • There are ways to support DonorsTrust’s work beyond simply opening a donor-advised fund (although we’d welcome you to do that as well). Our chief vehicle for this is our Whitney Ball Memorial Fund. The Fund is a program of DonorsTrust that honors our late president, Whitney Ball, and her desire to build not only DonorsTrust, but the broader liberty movement. Those interested in supporting our work, but not interested in a donor-advised account at the moment, can make a tax-deductible gift directly to DonorsTrust’s Whitney Ball Memorial Fund.

Looking Ahead

While 2016 was a very good year, we look forward to an even more successful 2017.

By what measure? The objective measures matter, of course. We certainly hope to grow the grants going into the liberty movement and add new clients to the DonorsTrust family.

But for us, the real measure is the success of the liberty movement overall. Are the groups working to advance limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise expanding and flourishing? Are more people engaging with the ideals of a free society?

Do you share that measure, or know someone who does? If so, here is how you can learn more:

We would welcome your involvement as we continue to advance a more free and prosperous society through charitable giving.


  • Peter Lipsett

    Peter Lipsett is vice president at DonorsTrust. He also leads DonorsTrust’s Novus Society, a network of donors under 40 committed to growing their philanthropic know-how. He has a dual degree in political science and theater from Davidson College and finally got a practical credential with an MBA from George Mason University.

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