Giving inches up; recovery from plunge slow

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew slightly in 2011, regaining some of its losses from the collapse of the economy in 2008 but posting a two-year pace that marks the second-slowest post-recession recovery since 1971, a new report says.

After adjusting for inflation, giving grew 0.9 percent to $298.42 billion from a revised estimate of $268.91 billion in 2010, says Giving USA, a report from the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

In 2010 and 2011, giving grew by an average rate of 1.1 percent, compared to an average of 2.6 percent, after adjusted for inflation, in the two-year period after each recession over the past 40 years, the report says.

Individuals accounted for 88 percent of all giving, with living individuals accounting for 73 percent total giving, and bequests and family foundations accounting for 15 percent.

Giving by living individuals grew to $217.79 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent after adjusting for inflation.

Individual giving as a share of disposable personal income was flat at 1.9 percent in 2011, the same as 2009 and 2010, but far below the 2005 high of 2.4 percent.

Corporate giving totaled $14.55 billion, down 3.1 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 5 percent of total giving.

Corporate pre-tax profits, traditionally a key factor in corporate donation levels, grew 4.2 percent, compared to 25 percent in 2010, the report says.

Between 1971 and 2011, giving by companies grew more slowly than the average inflation rate, with donations by U.S. companies growing 3.1 percent a year, on average, during the period, compared to inflation that averaged 4.4 percent a year for the period.

“Corporate generosity is real, and the nation’s charities would certainly feel its absence should the contributions go away,” Jim Yunker, chair of the Giving USA Foundation, says in a statement. “However, at a year-in, year-out 5 percent-sized slice of the giving pie, pragmatic nonprofits should consider additional potential funding sources when planning their appeals.”

The report calculates total giving by roughly 117 million households in the U.S., 12.4 million corporations that claim charitable donations, an estimated 99,000 estates, and about 76,000 foundations.

Those donations go to about 1.1million charities registered with the IRS, plus at least 222,000 religious organizations.

Gifts by bequests totaled an estimated $24.41 billion in 2011, up 8.8 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 8 percent of total giving.

Giving by foundations totaled $41.67 billion, up 8.8 percent after adjusting for inflation, and represented 14 percent of total giving.

Religious groups received $95.88 million, down 4.7 percent when adjusted for inflation, and accounted for 32 percent of all giving, the most of any sector.

That represented the second straight year of lower giving to religious groups, the report says, citing declines in church membership and attendance, especially among mainline Protestant denominations, as well as the changing economic climate.

Those declines coincide with average population growth in the U.S. of 1 percent a year, on average, the report says.

“Any charity that is heavily dependent on its members for the majority of its annual budget needs to be cognizant of issues that could affect growth, commitment and donations,” Thomas W. Mesaros, chair of the Giving Institute, the group that formed the Giving USA Foundation, says in a statement.

Giving to human-services totaled $35.39 billion, down 0.6 percent after adjusting for inflation, and represented 12 percent of overall charitable donations.

Still, giving to human services was the third-highest ever, trailing only 2008 and 2010, the report says, adding that human-services giving typically is strong during times of perceived need.

“It is possible that pertinent messaging from these charities is still resonating with donors,” it says.

Giving to education totaled $38.87 billion, up 0.9 percent from 2010 after adjusting for inflation, and represented 13 percent of all charitable donations, while giving to health totaled $35.39 billion, down 0.4 percent after adjusting for inflation and representing 8 percent of overall giving.

Giving to foundations fell 8.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $25.83 billion and represented 9 percent of overall giving, while giving to “public-society-benefit” groups such as United Ways and the Combined Federal Campaign grew 0.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $21.37 billion and represented 7 percent of overall giving.

In comparison, the report says, the three largest donor-advised funds in the U.S. – Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Gift Fund, and Vanguard Charitable Gift Fund – realized average growth of 77 percent in contributions received between 2010 and 2012.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities grew 1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars to $13.12 billion and represented 4 percent of all charitable giving, while giving to international affairs grew 4.4 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars and represented 8 percent of overall giving.

From 2001 to 2011, giving to international groups grew 167.1 percent when adjusted for inflation, representing the fastest growth of any sector for the period.

Since 1987, giving to international affairs grew at an annual average rate of 9.4 percent, compared to a 4.4 percent average annual rate of inflation.

Giving to environmental and animal groups grew 1.4 percent, adjusted for inflation, to $7.81 billion, or 3 percent of overall giving, with gifts of $1 million or more to support the ongoing cleanup from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico likely contributing to the increase.

And giving to individuals, mainly medications from operating foundations created by pharmaceutical makers, accounting for 1 percent of overall giving, and another $8.97 billion, or 3 percent, representing “unallocated” giving.

Wake Tech drive to support growth

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Fueled in part by the region’s economic boom, and more recently by the economic downturn, the number of students enrolled in academic or continuing-education classes at Wake Technical Community College has surged to 64,000 from 35,000 over the past 10 years.

As a result, the school for each of the past four semesters has not been able to meet demand from roughly 6,000 people who each wanted to enroll in 2.5 classes on average.

“Unmet demand is already here,” says Stephen Scott, who has served as president of the school since October 2003.

To meet rising growth in demand, the Wake Tech Foundation has launched the quiet phase of a campaign to raise $10 million to support student scholarships and programs, professional development for faculty and staff, and equipment and technology for classrooms and campuses.

The campaign already has raised $1.5 million in a silent phase that began in July 2011, and will kick off its public phase in January 2013, says Virginia Parker, director of strategic partnerships for the foundation.

The campaign, which aims to conclude by the end of 2013, represents “the first significant outreach to the community to enable them to invest in their community college,” Parker says.

Operating with an annual budget of $100 million, 83 percent of it from the state and 17 percent from Wake County, the school also receives $50 million in federal loans and Pell grants for students.

Over the course of a year, roughly 25,000 students are enrolled in academic programs at Wake Tech, with another 40,000 enrolled in continuing-education programs.

Continuing-education students include 8,000 pursuing work at the high-school level or below; 8,000 in police, fire, emergency-medical, corrections or other public-safety programs; and 24,000 in short courses, mainly designed to help them keep or get a job.

The greatest continuing-education demand for the past 10 years has been for information-technology classes, particularly from students needing certification for licenses for software from companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Red Hat, Scott says.

Wake Tech also provides training for about 3,000 students through contracts with their employers, a program that has seen a lot of demand, particularly from biotech companies, since the economy collapsed in September 2008.

The school also provided start-up training in 2009 for the staff of Raleigh’s new convention center, and for a range of hospitality-industry employers in the months leading up to the National Hockey League all-star game held in Raleigh in January 2011.

Roughly half the students in Wake Tech’s academic programs, an enrollment that has doubled over the past 10 years, are enrolled in technical programs such as welding, plumbing, electricity, information technology, culinary arts, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.

Roughly 25 percent of all students who enroll at Wake Tech already have a bachelor’s degree or higher, including 3,000 who enroll in academic programs and 12,000 who enroll in continuing-education programs.

The school is on track to serve 80,000 students by 2016, Scott says.

Parker says the foundation’s target is for over half of the campaign’s gifts go to the school’s endowment, which now totals $1 million.

Individuals account for less than 10 percent of the $2 million the school generates in annual giving, which is divided evenly between cash and in-kind support, most of it from corporations, and those patterns are likely to reflect giving to the campaign, Parker says.

The school, she says, plays a critical role in “economic growth, a prepared workforce with the right skills, and productive, contributing graduates.

“When they stay here and graduate and have skills to get a job,” she says, “they will contribute to the community and help strengthen our economy, which helps improve our quality of life.”

Private-foundation assets lag pre-recession levels

Most private foundations have not regained the asset value lost from the collapse of the capital markets that began in September 2008, a new study says.

At the end of 2011, the endowments of private foundations with under $50 million in assets were still nearly 9 percent below their pre-recession values, says the study by Foundation Source.

Those foundations account for 98 percent of the roughly 80,000 private foundations in the U.S., the study says.

With donors contributing as much new capital to their foundations each year as the foundations grant out, it says, donors to private foundation since 2007 contributed fresh capital to their foundations at the rate of 104 percent of the amount the foundations made in grants, a percentage that does not include foundation expenses.

Despite growth in 2009 and 2010, asset levels at foundations fell 3 percent on average in 2011.

New capital contributions in 2011 grew 19 from the previous year but still funded only 84 percent of total grants plus expenses, compared to 72 percent in 2010, 94 percent in 2008 and 111 percent in 2009.

The study is based on data from 519 private foundations clients with assets under $50 million.

Partnerships fight dropout rate

By Todd Cohen

Every 26 seconds, a child in the U.S. drops out of high school.

Marvin, a Forsyth County student, is not one of them, although he could have been.

In the 2009-10 school year, he was struggling through his second year of ninth grade at Glenn High School.

That year, through “Graduate. It Pays.”, a collaborative program that aims to improve the graduation rate for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, two corporate executives teamed up to provide Marvin with mentoring, guidance and support.

In addition to taking turns meeting with him at school for an hour a week, First Tennessee executive Duane Davis and former Wachovia executive Walter McDowell talked regularly with Marvin’s mother, teacher, principal and assistant principal to better track his progress and any problems he might be facing.

This year, Marvin was on track to receive a diploma along with fellow students who were in his original ninth-grade class.

“He most likely would have dropped out,” says Amy R. Mack, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, a partner agency in the dropout-prevention program. “But he’s on track to graduate.”

“Graduate. It Pays.” is one of several collaborative programs that are part of a larger effort known as the Community Education Collaborative that aims to increase the graduation rate in local schools to 90 percent in 2018 from 70.7 percent in 2007.

Among others, partners in the Community Education Collaborative the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, United Way of Forsyth County, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Winston-Salem Foundation, and Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

“Graduate. It pays.”, which pairs repeat and struggling ninth-graders with one-on-one mentors, is an umbrella effort that includes three programs.

Those include one-on-one mentoring for struggling or repeat, ninth-graders; graduation coaching for 10th and11th graders through Communities in Schools; and senior-academy mentoring for 12th graders coordinated by the Chamber.

Winston-Salem is one of a handful of communities in which local affiliates of United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters have teamed up to focus on dropout prevention and high school graduation programming.

One of those efforts is Graduating Our Futures, which provides year-long, one-to-one mentoring for students in middle schools with high dropout rates.

Other partners in that effort are Family Services, YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“We know that a community working together is much more effective than working in silos,” Mack says. “Together, our networks can galvanize more of our local citizens to give, advocate and volunteer to make sure every child has a caring adult supporting his or her educational success in addition to other services the child may need to be successful in school.”

And to track the impact and effectiveness of the partnerships and other student-mentoring programs, United Way, Forsyth Futures and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools are coordinating a project, funded by United Way and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, in which Big Brothers Big Sisters and four other agencies will share and have access to data on the services students are receiving, and on their academic performance.

“Through this project, we will be able to easily link a child’s academic data to the services they are receiving,” Mack says, “and, more importantly, we can use that data to inform mentors and other service providers about where a student is struggling, and help identify additional resources necessary for the child to be successful in school.”

The various collaborations seem to be paying off: At the end of the 2010-11 school year, the graduation rate had grown to nearly 79 percent.

And at Parkland High School, where the graduation rate was 65.8 percent in 2007, it had grown to 74.1 percent by the end of the last school year.

“The ability to have an adult in their life to help them sort through the challenges, to help them find opportunities, to believe in them, and to just care about them, helps them continue to move in the right direction,” says Cindy Gordineer, president and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County.


Freeman to guide Junior Leagues International

By Todd Cohen

After receiving a master’s degree in higher education from Michigan State University, Toni Freeman moved to Charlotte to take a job as a residence-hall director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

She later worked as director of housing at Johnson C. Smith University and then as corporate associate vice president at SunHealth, now known as Premier.

And she joined the Junior League of Charlotte.

That League experience has served her well: Equipped with the League’s community-focused training, Freeman has been its volunteer president and held senior positions at the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Duke Endowment, and Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education.

In February, she joined The Mint Museum as its first chief operating officer.

And this month she begins serving as president of the Association of Junior Leagues International.

“Our niche is training women as civic leaders,” Freeman says of the Junior League, which has 115,000 members in 293 communities in four countries and is “one of the largest and most effective volunteer organizations in the world.”

At The Mint and at the Association of Junior Leagues, Freeman will play a key role in putting ambitious strategies into place to better attract and serve clients.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, The Mint has launched a plan to double its attendance to 400,000 within five years, increase the number of virtual visitors to 800,000 a year, create a North Carolina Pottery Research Center, increase its space for classrooms and studios, develop a children’s center for the arts, and increase public access to its art library.

And the Association of Junior Leagues last year launched a five-year “strategic road map” to position the organization to expand and to “fine-tune what’s core to us, which is training,” Freeman says.

That effort will address issues like the age at which women join the League.

Traditionally joining in their 20s or 30s, women increasingly “are less committed later in life, when their children are grown and their careers more settled,” Freeman says.

So the League is looking at ways to attract women “at all stages of life,” she says.

At local Leagues in 39 communities, the association is piloting efforts to “figure out what works and what doesn’t work,” including a range of options for providing training.

Those include launching a new product to integrate best practices for training and make it available online, giving League members access, whenever and wherever they want it, to whatever training approach suits them.

Training is critical to develop women as leaders and volunteers who can make a difference in an increasingly complex and challenging world, Freeman says.

Women volunteer differently, and are “community-focused” and “multi-taskers,” she says.

“If we use our training to empower women to be better leaders,” she says, “ultimately we’re going to have better and stronger communities.”

And with the economic downturn slamming nonprofits, and the demand for qualified and effective volunteers escalating, Freeman says, Junior Leagues can help train the volunteers nonprofits need.

“It’s a life-long skill,” she says. “What better gift than to give a trained volunteer at a time when the need is the greatest.”

Foundation giving slips

Estimated giving by the more than 76,600 foundations in the U.S. totaled $46.9 billion in 2011, up from a peak of $46.8 billion before the economy plunged in 2008 but down slightly from 2010 after accounting for inflation new survey says.

Excluding giving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by far the biggest grantmaker in the U.S., 2011 giving would have been flat before accounting for inflation and down by roughly 3 percent after inflation.

Giving in 2012 likely will grow between 1 percent and 3 percent, although with inflation averaging just under 3 percent, giving likely will stay flat at best, based on real purchasing, says Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, from the Foundation Center.

The survey, based on responses from 1,077 large and mid-size foundations, also suggests foundation giving in 2013 likely will show consistent yet modest growth.

“Foundations would like to ramp up giving, but that is unlikely to happen absent consistent economic growth,” Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center, says in a statement.

Charitable contributions by independent and family foundations, which represent the vast majority of U.S. foundations, grew less than 2 percent to $33.1 billion before inflation, the survey says.

Giving by corporate foundations grew 6 percent to $5.2 billion before inflation, the biggest increase among all foundations, while giving by community foundations fell slightly to $4.2 billion before inflation.

Over a third of foundations responding to the survey indicated their giving fell last year.

While foundation regained over 9 percent of their asset value in 2010, big swings in the capital markets in 2011 left them with estimated assets totaling $646.1 billion, up 0.3 percent and well below the record-high of $682.2 billion in 2007.

Some foundations continued to “recalibrate” their giving after increasing their “payout rate” during the economic crisis, or the amount they distribute for charitable purpose as a share of their assets.

That increase in the payout rate helped foundations maintain their level of giving, or limit reductions in their giving, despite big declines in their assets, the survey says.

While assets of those foundations have regained some of their 2008 losses, it says, “returning to more typical payout levels [5 percent for private foundations] means that overall grant dollars awarded by these foundations may remain fairly flat.”

As a result of poor performance of the capital markets in 2011, and the “unsteady nature of the economic recovery,” the survey says, foundation giving is “unlikely to gain much momentum this year.”

Still, 44 percent of respondents expect to increase their giving in 2012, while 18 percent expect to increase their giving.

Foundations that give $10 million or more, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total foundation giving, are most likely with anticipate increased giving, with 54 percent expecting to give more this year, including 53 percent of corporate foundations, 45 percent of community foundations, and 42 percent of independent foundations.

Nearly two in five foundations expect to reduce their giving in 2012, compared to between roughly a quarter to a roughly a third of funders that might expect to reduce their giving in more prosperous times, the survey says.

In 2013, 54 percent of foundations expect to keep their giving steady, 19 percent expect to give more and 9 percent expect to give less, with another 14 percent not clear what they will do.

“The uncertain nature of the current economic and political environment both in the United States and globally suggests a cautious approach to forecasting foundation growth over the next couple of years,” the survey says.

But if the economy performs more consistently this year, it says, foundations “may be in a position to raise their 2012 and 2013 giving beyond what they expected at the start of the year.”