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Charitable giving in Minnesota down 9 percent

Economic uncertainty continues to affect charitable giving in Minnesota, according to a report from the Minnesota Council on Foundations released today that says giving by individuals, foundations and corporate giving programs totaled $4.9 billion for the 2009 research year, a decrease of 9.3 percent from 2008.

The numbers in the 2009 research year are the latest available; they include financial information from foundations and corporate giving programs with fiscal years ending between June 1, 2009, and May 31, 2010.

Highlights of the report:

  • Individual giving in Minnesota declined 11.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, to $3.6 billion.
  • Foundation and corporate grantmaking was down 3. 6 percent in 2009, to $1.37 billion.

According to the report, individual giving makes up 72 percent of charitable contributions in the state, and foundations and corporations give 28 percent.

“People were hit hard by the 2008-2009 recession, so it’s understandable that giving by individuals was down most significantly,”  said Bill King, MCF president. “Foundations and corporate givers made a strong effort to hold the line, and their grantmaking only dropped by a few percentage points.”

Total Minnesota foundation assets actually increased in the period, up 6 percent to $18.33 billion, the report said. But the 10.7 percent losses the previous year, “remained a factor in 2009’s decrease in giving,” according to the report.

“The increase in foundation assets is good news, but it will take time and a more stable economy before giving levels catch up,” King said. “Foundations typically base grantmaking on a one- to three-year average of past asset performance, so 2008’s decrease may continue to have a negative impact for another year or so.”

The areas getting the most state grant dollars were:

  • Education, 26 percent
  • Human services, 23 percent
  • Public affairs/society benefit, 18 percent

Education has been the top recipient in every year but three since MCF started keeping track in 1976.

For the first time since the tracking began, less than half the donations made by Minnesota grantmakers went to organizations and programs in the state. Organizations serving other states and other parts of the world were 52 percent of the total.

“In general, more corporate grantmakers’ dollars go out of state, as multi-nationals typically distribute their funding between Minnesota, where they are headquartered, and other regions of the world where they have facilities and do business,” King said. “Also in 2009, several private foundations made larger than usual gifts to out-of-state organizations.”

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