Crisis spurs $116 million in grants

Almost 50 U.S. foundations so far have responded to the recession by awarding a total of $116.5 million in grants to mitigate the fallout of the downturn, a new report says.

Those grants are for services such as foreclosure prevention, emergency food relief, support for the homeless and financial counseling, says the research advisory from the Foundation Center.

The largest single donor so far is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has awarded more than $38 million in grants and program-related investments to help Chicago-area homeowners and renters cope with and prevent foreclosures and other housing challenges.

The largest single human-services grant came from the GE Foundation, which awarded $10.5 million to the United Way of America for basic-needs organizations and homeless shelters, the report says.

Other funders are investing in understanding the root causes of the economic collapse.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded grants totaling $1.7 million to study the market crisis and improve the public’s understanding of finance.

The Ford Foundation invested $300,000 to better understand the crisis and to develop a regulatory framework for to address it.

Other funders are contributing by holding steady their funding levels in the face of sharp income declines and shrinking endowments, the report says.

“The new administration will have to take the lead in restoring America’s badly tattered social-safety net,” Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center, says in a statement. “In the meantime, foundations are doing what they do best: acting swiftly, reaching those too often forgotten, and piloting new approaches to deepening challenges.”

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