Foundations

McKnight Approves Over $30 million in Second Quarter of 2010
June 25, 2010

The McKnight Foundation awarded 117 grants totaling $30,054,000 in its second-quarter 2010 grantmaking.

Of the $30 million total approved, over $1.3 million went to 20 small and mid-sized arts organizations that model innovation in connecting artists and community. Among them, Franconia Sculpture Park, a 20-acre working sculpture park that invites the public into each artist's creative process, received $70,000 over two years; nonprofit literary publisher Milkweed Editions of Minneapolis received $180,000 over three years; Northern Community Radio of Grand Rapids received a $20,000 grant to support its general operations; and Public Art Saint Paul received $60,000 over two years for an artist in residence in the city of St. Paul. Minnesota's oldest performing arts organization, the Schubert Club of Minneapolis, received $80,000 over two years; and SteppingStone Theatre of St. Paul received $60,000 over two years to support youth-specific productions created by professional playwrights.

Nonprofits Report Poor Communication and Little Help From Foundations During the Economic Downturn
June 23, 2010

A new report by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that nonprofit organizations believe foundations have offered little help and communicated poorly with them during this long economic downturn. According to the report, foundation giving — while only a small portion of most nonprofits' budgets — declined by approximately 8.4 percent in 2009, and foundation giving isn't projected to increase until 2011.

Some 70% of Grant Makers Say Foundations Have Few Measures to Test Effectiveness
June 15, 2010

More than 70 percent of grant makers say not enough is being done to assess the performance of foundations, according to a survey conducted by the LFA Group for the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

The biggest barriers to measuring performance are the difficulty of establishing a causal relationship between a foundation’s support and creating change, and a lack of time to conduct an evaluation, respondents said. LFA Group polled more than 500 foundation executives and program officers in February.

Walmart Foundation Launches Solar School Program With $1.2 Million Grant
June 1, 2010

CHICAGO, Ill. – May 24, 2010The Walmart Foundation today announced a $1.2 million dollar donation to the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to install solar panels on 20 schools in five cities across the country. The five cities taking part in the program are Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Seattle.

“The Walmart Solar School program will help educate the next generation on the opportunities and benefits of using more renewable energy,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “This program aligns perfectly with Walmart’s sustainability commitment to involve our communities and customers in our environmental and social efforts.”

$45 Million Match Is Pledged
May 28, 2010

Michelle Obama on Thursday announced that five foundations — the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Omidyar Network, the Skoll Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the Benificus Foundation — would provide a total of $45 million to match the money the government plans to grant to nonprofit groups through its Social Innovation Fund, which will help expand social programs that have proven successful. More than 20 other foundations and organizations will provide an additional $5 million so that the fund will have $100 million, half in federal money, to award beginning in July.

Foundations Offer Loans as a Way to Help Nonprofits
May 24, 2010

A $650,000 check in 2008 from the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York for a new program to assist the frail elderly in Cattaraugus County came with a caveat: Trustees of the foundation wanted the money back, with interest.

A single grant of that size was beyond the capacity of the foundation, so trustees decided instead to make it a loan.

The money allowed Community Care of Western New York to launch a program that will keep more than 200 rural elderly people safely in their homes. Without it, the project probably would have stalled.

Foundations Get High Marks for Response to Economic Crisis
May 7, 2010

Foundations appear to have responded quickly and intelligently to the economic crisis, directing more of their money for recession relief to the hardest-hit parts of the country, according to a study released today.

The study was conducted by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and paid for by the Philanthropic Collaborative, a group of foundations, nonprofit organizations, and lawmakers.

The study analyzed a sample of grants collected by the Foundation Center that numbered 2,672 and totaled $472-million. The grants were made from 2008 to 2010.

Foundations See 'Moment of Opportunity' to Improve Schools
April 30, 2010

April 30, 2010, Chronicle of Philanthropy Twelve foundations announced today they plan to spend $506-million this year on grants designed to bolster a new $650-million federal grant program to expand innovative school-improvement projects.

"We see this as a real moment of opportunity for the country," said Michelle Cahill, a vice president at Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is coordinating the effort along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant makers said in a statement they have also created an online registry to make it easier for groups to apply for, and share information about, the new federal program, known as the Investing in Innovation, or "i3," program.

The Fawning of the Foundations
April 30, 2010

April 30, 2010, Wall Street Journal It's no surprise that President Obama, with a lengthy background in the non-profit sector, has made strong efforts to reach out to the philanthropic community. What may come as a surprise is just how exhilarated the philanthropic community is by the attention.

This year's Council on Foundations conference, which concluded Tuesday in Denver, offered a revealing glimpse into the nexus of an administration eager to obtain the support of the non-profit world, and a community of increasingly politicized foundations who see bountiful opportunities for legislative achievements emanating from the current White House.

A tone of mutual congratulation pervaded the conference, first exemplified by remarks from Valerie Jarrett, a long-time adviser to President Obama and manager of the White House Office of Public Engagement, which oversees public-private liaison efforts."Why did I have such a great amount of confidence at the beginning of our administration?" she said to the assembled foundation worthies. "It's because of you."

Foundation Giving Declined by Record 8.4 Percent in 2009, Study Finds
April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010, Philanthropy News Digest Challenged by a prolonged economic downturn, the nation's grantmaking foundations cut their giving by an estimated 8.4 percent in 2009, a new report from the Foundation Center finds. The decline is the steepest since the center began tracking the data in 1975.

Based on a survey of more than 1,200 large and midsize foundations, the 2010 edition of Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates (16 pages, PDF) found that grant dollars awarded fell from $46.8 billion in 2008 to $42.9 billion in 2009, and that the decline in giving totaled less than half the 17 percent loss in foundation assets recorded in 2008. The report also found that independent and family foundations, which represent nearly 90 percent of foundations, reduced their giving by 8.9 percent to $30.8 billion in 2009, corporate foundation giving decreased by 3.3 percent to $4.4 billion, and community foundation giving declined by 9.6 percent to $4.1 billion.