By Todd Cohen
ATLANTA — Powered by a strong national economy and stock market, and by the rapid creation of new philanthropies by individuals, families and companies, foundations in North Carolina and the Southeast enjoyed a surge in assets and giving in the five years through 1997, a new study says.
Foundation giving in North Carolina, however, grew more slowly than in other states – and lagged relative to the state’s own booming population and economy.
Foundation assets increased to $7.1 billion in North Carolina, up from $3.7 billion in 1992, and to $39.1 billion in the 12-state region, more than twice the amount in 1992, says Southeastern Foundations II, a study by The Foundation Center in New York.
Foundation giving in the five-year period grew to $348.3 million in North Carolina, up from $220.2 million in 1992, and to more than $2 billion in the Southeast, up from nearly $1.2 billion.
Foundation assets and giving grew faster in the Southeast than in the Northeast and Midwest and trailed only the West.
Tar Heel foundations ranked third in the region in total giving, trailing only Florida, with $425.2 million, and Georgia, with $391.9 million.
The number of Tar Heel foundations grew to 793 from 636, while the number of foundations in the Southeast grew to 6,621, up 1,100 from 1992.
The Duke Endowment in Charlotte was North Carolina’s largest foundation, with $2.1 billion in assets. It handed out $77.4 million.
By several comparative measures, giving by North Carolina foundations lagged that of foundations in other states during the five-year period.
“Philanthropy is growing in North Carolina but not in tandem with the state’s population and economy,” said Steven Lawrence, director of research for The Foundation Center, which conducted the study in collaboration with the Southeastern Council of Foundations in Atlanta.
“Regardless of whether the economy was growing faster or slower,” he said, “the resources of philanthropy weren’t keeping pace with that growth.”
Per-capita giving by North Carolina foundations, for example, as well as their giving as a percentage of gross state product, both ranked third in the region, down from second in 1992.
Foundation giving in the state also grew more slowly than foundation giving in the region overall and throughout the U.S.
Giving by Tar Heel foundations grew more slowly than in all but two other states in the Southeast – Kentucky and Florida — while growth in giving per capita by North Carolina foundations outpaced giving only by those in Florida.
And North Carolina foundations ranked last in the region in the change in their giving as a share of gross state product, falling by roughly 70 percent. Foundation giving in Florida, by comparison, grew nearly 60 percent as a share of gross state product, outpacing all other states in the region.
The remainder of the top 10 foundations in the state, including their assets and giving, were:
* Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle, $562.4 million, $22.8 million.
* Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Winston-Salem, $455.8 million, $21.6 million.
* Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Winston-Salem, $394.9 million, $9.98 million.
* William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, Chapel Hill, $384.9 million, $8.7 million.
* Cannon Foundation, Concord, $196.9 million, $8.1 million.
* Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte, $195.2 million, $32.1 million.
* C.D. Spangler Foundation, $187.9 million, $6.8 million.
* Winston-Salem Foundation, $125.1 million, $8.7 million.
* John Motley Morehead Foundation, Chapel Hill, $119.2 million, $3.9 million.
The study follows an earlier Foundation Center study, Southeastern Foundations, that was published in 1994. For a copy, call 800-424-9836.