Foundation giving surges in state

By Todd Cohen

Charitable foundations in North Carolina have multiplied, and increased their assets and giving, but those assets are concentrated among the state’s urban areas and largest foundations, and the focus of foundation giving overall has shifted.

Those are the findings of a new study of North Carolina foundations released by NCGives, a fund at the North Carolina Community Foundation that supports giving by African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, women and young people.

“The formal giving by foundations is increasing,” says Donna Chavis, executive director of NCGives. “That means we have more access to more resources, and we need to be thinking strategically about how those resources can benefit the state, including how to make giving more inclusionary.”

Chavis says foundations can play a critical role in transforming the perception of giving to include time and know-how in addition to money, and to encompass people of color, women and young people.

While foundations make grants, Chavis says, they also support and are active in research and policy work, and have relationships with other organizations and individuals, and can help shape the idea of giving that is more diverse and inclusive.

“We can all benefit by bringing all the pieces of philanthropy together,” she says.

To help fill a gap in data on giving by individuals, who account for 83 percent of charitable giving in the U.S., including giving through bequests, Chavis says, NCGives plans to develop research on giving by individual North Carolinians.


North Carolina in 2005 had just over 3,000 foundations, triple the number in 1997, and those foundations had over $13.3 billion in assets and made nearly $897 million in grants, up from over $8 billion in assets and $387.5 million in grants in 1997, says Foundation Giving in Norty Carolina, 2006: An Analysis of Trends for 2005.

Only 69 foundations, or 2 percent of all North Carolina foundations, have assets of $20 million or more each, and together they control nearly $9.8 billion in assets, or 73 percent of all foundation assets in then state, says the report, compiled by Anita Gunn Shirley, assistant director of foundation relations for Duke University Medical Center.

And while 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties are home to at least one foundation, 10 counties are home to 82 percent of the state’s foundations and 78 percent of total foundation assets.

Three Charlotte Metro counties are home to 588 foundations with nearly $4.9 billion in assets, two Triad counties are home to 1,494 foundations with nearly $3 billion in assets, and three Triangle counties are home to 319 foundations with nearly $2.3 billion in assets.

Reflecting national trends, community foundations in the state outpaced the growth of private foundations.

The number of community foundations, which receive gifts from individuals and organizations and make grants, grew to 29 in 2005 from 16 in 1997, while their assets grew to nearly $1.2 billion from $538 million and their giving grew to $163 million from $58.8 million.

North Carolina also is home to at least five foundations, with assets totaling $277.4 million, that have been formed since the mid-1990s through the sale or acquisition of hospital or health-care systems.


In 2005, educational institutions received the biggest share of grants from North Carolina foundations, 32 percent, or $283.1 million, down from 51 percent in 1988, says the study, which does not track how North Carolina foundations divide their grantmaking between recipients inside and outside the state.

Social-service programs received 31 percent, or nearly $276.4 million, up from 18 percent in 1988, while health and hospitals received 19 percent, or nearly $172 million, up from 14 percent.

Changes among North Carolina foundations in the share of grants they make for education, social and human services, and health care and hospitals reflect national trends, the study says.

But foundations in the state are giving a bigger share of their grants for education, 32 percent, and religion, 9 percent, than are foundations nationally, 26 percent and 2 percent, respectively, while giving less for arts and humanities, 6 percent, compared to 13 percent nationally.


Biggest North Carolina foundations, by assets:

* The Duke Endowment, Charlotte, $2.5 billion

* Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, $703 million

* Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Winston-Salem, $534 million

* William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, Chapel Hill, $487 million

* Golden LEAF Foundation, Rocky Mount, $415 million

* Smith Richardson Foundation, Greensboro, $480 million

* Golden LEAF Foundation, Rocky Mount, $415 million

* Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Winston-Salem, $350 million

* C.D. Spangler Foundation, Charlotte, $348 million

* Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte, $320 million


Biggest community foundations in North Carolina, by assets:

* Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte, $320 million

* Winston-Salem Foundation, $189 million

* Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Asheville, $125 million

* Triangle Community Foundation, Research Triangle Park, $101 million

* North Carolina Community Foundation, Raleigh, $85 million

* Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, $78 million

* Community Foundation of Gaston County, $55.5 million

* Community Foundation of Henderson County, $55.5 million

* High Point Community Foundation, $37 million

* Cumberland Community Foundation, $28 million


North Carolina counties with most foundation assets:

* Mecklenburg – 553 foundations, $4.4 billion

* Forsyth – 1,306 foundations, $2.1 billion

* Durham — 50 foundations, $1 billion

* Orange – 91 foundations, $835 million

* Guilford – 188 foundations, $808 million

* Wake – 178 foundations, $426 million

* Cabarrus —11 foundations, $365 million

* Buncombe – 38 foundations, $201 million

* Gaston – 24 foundations, $110 million

* New Hanover – 35 foundations, $103 million

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