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Southern charity – Foundations booming

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Growth in population, high-income households and the transfer of wealth between generations fueled a big increase in philanthropy in the 1990s in North Carolina and the Southeast, a new study says.

The number of foundations in the 12-state region nearly doubled to 8,925 in 2000 from 4,670 in 1990, while foundation assets and grantmaking nearly quadrupled — to $57 billion in assets from $15 billion, and to $3.42 billion in grants from $930 million – according to Southern Philanthropy 2001, a study by the Southeastern Council of Foundations in Atlanta.

Giving by individuals in the region totaled $24.8 million in 1998, or 2.1 percent of individual income, compared with 2 percent on average throughout the U.S.

Charitable bequests in the region for the years 1994-98 totaled $2.4 billion a year on average, or 6.6 percent of individual income, compared with 7.8 percent for the U.S.

And new gifts to foundations in the region totaled $3.25 billion, according to their most recent reports.

The number of foundations in North Carolina nearly doubled to 1,090 in 2000 from 585 in 1990, while foundation assets more than tripled to $9.8 billion from $3.1 billion, and foundation grants grew to $636 million from $182 million in 1990.

Charitable giving by individual North Carolinians totaled $3.2 million in 1998, or 2.3 percent of individual income.

Charitable bequests totaled $161.2 million for the years 1994-98, or 4.8 percent of individual income.

And new gifts to foundations totaled $546 million, according to their most recent reports.

Private foundations in North Carolina accounted for 14 percent of $2.2 billion in grants handed out in 1999 by private foundations in the region, trailing private foundations only in Florida, which accounted for 25 percent, and in Georgia, which accounted for 23 percent.

Community and corporate foundations in North Carolina led other states in the region by far in their share of grantmaking in 1999, accounting for 30 percent of $309 million handed out by community foundations and 37 percent of $430 million handed out by corporation foundations.

North Carolina foundations also accounted for 18 percent of the gain of nearly $2.5 billion in grantmaking by foundations in the region, trailing only foundations in Georgia, which accounted for 23 percent.

The number of family foundations in the region grew by 449 in 1999 from 2,789 in 1998, the first year they were tracked by The Foundation Center in New York, while their assets grew by nearly $531 million to nearly $954 million.

In North Carolina, the number of family foundations grew by 51 in 1999 to 313.

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