Funding Katrina relief

Over 400 foundations and corporations have committed more than $577 million to immediate relief and ongoing rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a new report says.

The vast majority of those institutional donors say donations made in response to the 2005 hurricanes did not affect their regular giving, says the Foundation Center’s report, “Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation and Corporate Response.”

The survey includes responses from over 900 of the largest U.S. funders, almost half of which say they provided some form of post-hurricane support.

The Lilly Endowment gave $30 million, more than any other foundation, followed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which gave $23.8 million, and the Ford Foundation, which gave $20 million.

More than three in four corporate foundations provided support, with the Wal-Mart Foundation leading the way with $17 million in donations, followed by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati with $15 million.

About four in 10 independent foundations, some of whose charters preclude disaster giving, contributed to relief efforts, and more than six in 10 community foundations gave.

Most funders, almost eight in 10, fulfilled their pledges before January 2006 and say they do not foresee additional donations.

More than six in 10 funders provided donations from their grant budgets, almost one in five used donor-advised funds, and fewer than one in five used matching gift programs or special reserve funds, the study says.

The vast majority of contributing funders say their hurricane-related giving did not affect their regular giving, with fewer than one in six saying they cut funding in other grantmaking areas.

Corporate funders were most likely to see reduced funding in other areas as a result of Katrina-relief funding, the study says.

Corporate funding commitments tracked through June of this year represented about 2.6 percent of overall corporate giving in 2005, the report says, while foundation commitments during the same period represented less than 1 percent.

More than eight in 10 dollars of hurricane-related funding supported immediate relief efforts, the study says, with about two in 10 committed for longer-term rebuilding efforts.

Long-term funding tended to aid efforts to find housing, build the local economy and create jobs.

More than three in four institutional donors gave to disaster relief organizations, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, while four in 10 gave to “re-granting” groups like community foundations, and more than one in three gave to affected nonprofits.

Well over half of donations from institutional funders were directed toward general relief efforts or earmarked for human services needs, the study says.

The American Red Cross received $188.4 million from corporate and foundation funders, more than any other group, followed by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which took in $31 million, and the Salvation Army, with almost $26 million.

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