Grantmakers Try to Keep Donations Flowing
March 6, 2009, Philadelphia Inquirer — Foundations in the region have suffered substantial declines in their endowment assets during the last six months, a new survey indicates. But many of those foundations say they are seeking to maintain their current levels of giving.
Of the 50 survey respondents, 45 percent suffered asset losses of 21 to 30 percent, while 28 percent lost 31 to 40 percent of their asset value, said Delaware Valley Grantmakers, a service organization for the region's substantial philanthropic community.
Nevertheless, 42 percent said their grant budgets would remain the same in 2009. A further 23 percent said their grant budgets would be reduced by 5 to 15 percent, and 27 percent said grant budgets would decline by 16 to 34 percent.
About half the grantmakers said they had already reduced their budgets in the last year.
Fifty-eight of the respondents were private foundations. About two-thirds reported assets greater than $5 million, and 27 percent reported assets ranging from $1 million to $5 million.
Grantmakers reported significant rethinking about the areas they fund and the type of funding they provide. Forty-two percent said they would make smaller grants and focus on vulnerable populations, such the elderly poor.
Many also said they would not make multiyear grants.
The survey was the first of a series of reports that will be frequently updated and designed to track changes in nonprofit funding as the recession grinds on, said Debra A. Kahn, executive director of the organization.
"It's a fluid situation," she said, adding that potential grantees should not be dismayed. She said funders had expressed a commitment to support nonprofit and charitable groups - organizations deemed at risk as the economy declines.
About a fifth of funders, Kahn said, expressed willingness to fund new grantees. They "have a chance" for funding, she said.