Minnesota grantmaking steadies

After two years of uncertainty and anticipation of funding declines, grantmakers in Minnesota are feeling more optimistic about 2011, a new report says.

Half of 118 grantmakers surveyed by the Minnesota Council on Foundations expect their giving to be the same this year as last, with only one in 10 expecting to give less, an improvement from last year, when one in three expected decreases for 2010.

About 35 percent of foundations plan to award more in grants in 2010, up from 25 percent last year, although those increases are expected to be 4 percent or less, the report says.

Much of the renewed optimism among grantmakers is due to increased confidence in the stock market, the report says.

About 58 percent of organizations holding assets are expecting increases this year, while only 3 percent anticipate declines.

“Because much of foundation giving is asset-based, we expect the effects on grantmaking to linger,” Bill King, president of the council, says in a statement. “It now appears that, while the ‘new normal’ is challenging, we are moving to more stability in the next year.”

Perhaps a silver lining to the recession is grantmakers’ efforts to employ non-monetary strategies to pursue their missions.

About 68 percent of foundations are providing capacity-building and technical assistance to grantees, while 36 percent are employing mission-related and program-related investing and 32 percent are engaging in public-policy and advocacy activities.

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