Minnesota giving falls in 2008

PJ staff report

During the height of the recession, total giving in Minnesota fell 5 percent to $5.4 billion, says a study from the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

That decline was fueled by a drop in individual giving, which accounts for three-quarters of all donations to nonprofits.

In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, Minnesotans donated a total of $4.02 billion, down 7.7 percent from 2007.

That decline was mitigated by a rise in combined foundation and corporate grantmaking, which grew 3.6 percent in 2008 to $1.37 billion, or 26 percent of overall giving in the state.

Corporate foundations and giving programs account for only about 9 percent of the state’s almost 1,500 grantmakers, but award 47 percent of all grant dollars.

These funders gave a total of $669 million in 2008, up 14 percent from the previous year.

Private foundations, however, decreased grantmaking by 5.3 percent, while community and public foundations gave about the same amount in 2008 as in 2007.

Foundation assets took a hit in 2008, falling 11.5 percent.

That showing would have been worse, a drop of about 22.4 percent, without the $2.12 billion asset infusion from the newly-formed Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

In response to the recession, grant funding for human services grew 8 percent in 2008, outpacing education funding for only the third time in almost 40 years.

“This decrease in overall charitable giving in Minnesota reverses a long-term trend of slight increases or at least flat giving from year to year,” Bill King, president of the council, says in a statement. “But we know a drop was inevitable given the steep recession and slow economic recovery.”

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