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Funder pares giving

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By Solja Nygard Frangos

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Stung by the struggling economy and markets, the Cumberland Community Foundation is cutting back on unrestricted grants this year but expects its donor-advised funds will make grants at least equal to the total they gave away last year.

“Our unrestricted funds are earning less, so we have less to give away,” says Mary Holmes, executive director.

Unrestricted grants represented less than 9 percent of a record-high $2.2 million in total grants the foundation made last year, up from $1.9 million a year earlier.

Poor returns helped reduce the foundation’s investments 5 percent to $18 million last year, but donors gave a record-high total in gift dollars.

“The people involved in donor-advised funds have historically continued to give to those funds regardless of economic times,” says Holmes. “We got 50 fewer gifts but the amounts people gave were bigger.”

The foundation, which serves 13 counties in southeastern North Carolina, received $3.7 million from donors last year, including $1.8 million from the estate of Jeannette Master Yanoff, who asked that the fund support culture, education, scholarships and a synagogue.

Gifts from donors last year exceeded by roughly $800,000 the gift dollars the foundation received a year earlier.

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