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.