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Giving by state’s foundations tops $1 billion

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Ret Boney

North Carolina foundations in 2006 gave over $1 billion, up 21 percent from 2005, and for the first time gave more to human services than to education, a new report says.

While the number of foundations in North Carolina edged up less than 1 percent in 2006 to 3,032, their combined assets jumped 14 percent to nearly $15.3 billion over the same period, says the report, an analysis prepared for NCGives by Anita Gunn Shirley, assistant director of foundation relations at Duke University Medical Center.

“North Carolina is in a great position,” says Shirley. “Philanthropy is flourishing in the state.”

That wealth is concentrated among a few large foundations, the report says, with fewer than 1 percent of funders controlling 62 percent of combined assets, a trend that has become more pronounced over the past decade.

And the overall growth in 2006 in the number of foundations and in their assets was driven by larger foundations, or those with $1 million or more in assets, the report says.

While the number of those funders grew 8 percent, and their combined assets grew 15 percent, the number of foundations with assets under $1 million dropped 2 percent and assets fell 1 percent.

Over the past decade, the overall number of foundations in the state has more than tripled.

Some of those new funders are “health-care conversions,” which are established when a hospital or health-care organization is sold or acquired.

At least five such foundations have been created since the mid 90’s, the report says, with combined assets of $296 million and $11.9 million in grants awarded in 2006.

Giving by type of foundation

More than nine in 10 North Carolina funders are independent foundations, which together hold $12.8 billion in assets and awarded almost $640 million in grants in 2006, or more than six in 10 grants awarded in the state.

North Carolina is home to 94 corporate foundations, which together have assets of more than $630 million and gave more than $266.4 million in 2006.

The state’s 28 community foundations, which represent the fastest-growing segment of North Carolina’s philanthropic sector, together have $1.66 billion in assets and awarded almost $172 million in grants in 2006.

The recipients

Until 2006, education groups were the perennial favorite of the state’s grantmakers, garnering over half of all grant dollars two decades ago.

But that share has eroded steadily, now representing less than a third of nearly $1.1 billion awarded by North Carolina foundations in 2006.

Education giving includes grants to higher education, business education, public and private schools, literacy and scholarships.

The largest share of grant dollars in 2006, 37 percent, supported social-services organizations, groups such as those serving children, youth, programs for the needy, economic-development projects, and domestic-violence prevention.

Social services’ share of grant dollars has increased steadily since 1988, when it accounted for 18 percent of all giving.

Shirley expects this trend to continue.

“Foundations perhaps got more hesitant about funding educational institutions because their alums are a natural donor base that should be supporting their institutions,” she says.

Given that individuals are responsible for 80 percent of charitable donations, Shirley says, educational institutions have moved toward hiring major gifts officers to raise dollars from individuals.

“Social services groups, like food banks and homeless shelters, don’t have a wealthy client base to tap,” she says.  “I think foundations feel they can really have an impact there.”

Giving to all other issue areas remained fairly stable, with health-care groups and hospitals receiving 14 percent of giving in 2006; arts and humanities, receiving 8 percent; religious organizations, 6 percent; and environmental groups, 2 percent.

Geography of giving

While they can be found in 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, foundations are concentrated in the state’s more urban counties.

Mecklenburg County is home to 144 foundations with combined assets of $5.1 million; Forsyth has 401 foundations with assets of $1.6 billion; Guilford County has 67 foundations with assets of $1.7 billion; and Durham County has 19 foundations with assets of $1.1 billion.

The top 10 by assets

The majority of foundation assets in the state are held by a handful of funders, with the 76 largest representing more than three quarters of all assets.

The largest 10 foundations in North Carolina in fiscal 2006, by assets, include:

  • The Duke Endowment, Charlotte, $2.9 billion
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, $777.6 million
  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Greensboro, $712 million
  • Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte, $601 million
  • Golden LEAF Foundation, Rocky Mount, $597.7 million
  • William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, Chapel Hill, $545 million
  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Winston-Salem, $533.7 million
  • C.D. Spangler Foundation, Charlotte, $447.2 million
  • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Winston-Salem, $426 million
  • The Winston-Salem Foundation, $244.9 million

The top 10 by giving

While the majority of North Carolina foundations award small grants, 46 funders in 2006, or 1 percent of all foundations, made grants of $2.6 million or more, together representing almost three-fourths of total grantmaking.

The largest givers in 2006, and their total grants, were:

  • The Duke Endowment, Charlotte, $136.2 million
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Charlotte, $123.3 million
  • Foundation for the Carolinas, Charlotte, $71.8 million
  • Wachovia Foundation, Winston-Salem, $57.4 million
  • Winston-Salem Foundation, $31.3 million
  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Greensboro, $30.8 million
  • Golden LEAF Foundation, Rocky Mount, $26.8 million
  • Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Winston-Salem, $26.2 million
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Research Triangle Park, $25.8 million
  • Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, $17.4 million

The report was prepared primarily from tax returns filed by foundations and made available through organizations such as Guidestar, the Foundation Center and Metasoft.

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