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Foundations surge in North Carolina – Assets exceed $8 billion


By Todd Cohen

Fueled by a booming stock market and a robust economy, foundation giving in North Carolina grew to $405.5 million in 1997-98 from $261.9 million three years earlier.

During that period, the number of foundations in the state grew to 997 from 865, while their total assets grew to $8.05 billion from $4.99 billion.

Those figures are from North Carolina Giving, the latest edition of a directory of Tar Heel foundations published by Capital Development Services, a fundraising firm in Raleigh, N.C.

Of the total number of foundations, 231 did not appear in the last edition of the directory, published in 1996. Those new foundations controlled $369.6 million in assets in 1997-98 and contributed $24.3 million in grants.

Ten counties were home to 61 percent of all Tar Heel foundations, which accounted for 92 percent of all foundation assets and contributed 88 percent of all foundation grants.

Mecklenburg County was the state’s foundation capital, with 170 foundations that controlled $2.9 billion in assets and contributed $130.7 million in grants. The Duke Endowment, by far the state’s largest foundation, accounted for nearly $2 billion of those assets and $52.5 million of those grants.

The Triad had 207 foundations that controlled $2.32 billion in assets and contributed $113.3 million in grants, while the Triangle had 159 foundations that controlled $1.7 billion in assets and contributed $88.48 million in grants.

In addition to Mecklenburg, the top counties — with the number of foundations, their total assets and total grants they contributed — include:

  • Guilford – 125, $995.34 million, $45.33 million.
  • Forsyth – 82, $1.32 billion, $67.97 million.
  • Wake – 88, $224.23 million, $14.7 million.
  • Durham – 36, $762.29 million, $46.42 million.
  • Orange – 35, $709.75 million, $27.36 million.
  • New Hanover, 25, $86.32 million, $3.08 million.
  • Buncombe – 23, $114.46 million, $7.08 million.
  • Gaston –22, $83.05 million, $7.4 million.
  • Cabarrus – 5, $202.67 million, $8.64 million.

In addition to the Duke Endowment, the largest foundations in the state, including their total assets and grants, were:

  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park — $562.5 million, $35 million.
  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Greensboro — $478 million, $14 million.
  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Winston-Salem — $462 million, $22 million.
  • William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, Chapel Hill –$425 million, $12.27 million.

The new edition of North Carolina Giving is available in print and also in an online edition that is updated every month. For information, call Kathyrn Bilbro, director of marketing and operations, at 919-854-9775, extension 204.

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