Charitable giving in Minnesota slows

Minnesota philanthropy
Minnesota philanthropy

Reflecting the pressures the Great Recession placed on individuals and grantmakers, charitable giving in Minnesota fell for the second year in a row in 2009, a new report says.

Giving totaled $4.9 billion in 2009, a 9.3 percent drop from 2008 that was fueled by a decline in contributions from individuals, says the report from the Minnesota Council on Foundations.

Donations from individuals, which totaled $3,6 billion and accounted for 72 percent of all charitable dollars awarded in 2009, fell 11.3 percent from 2008 levels, the report says, bringing the two-year decline to 17.3 percent.

While steep, the drop was less than the two-year, 19-percent slide in individual giving for the U.S. as a whole.

Grantmaking, which accounts for the remaining 28 percent of charitable giving in Minnesota, fell 3.6 percent in 2009 to a total of $1.37 billion.

The drop was fueled in part by a 10.7 percent decline in foundation assets caused by the market volatility of 2008.

Corporate givers, which account for fewer than 10 percent of Minnesota grantmakers, awarded almost half the grant dollars awarded in 2009.

Private foundations, which make up the vast majority of the state’s grantmakers, awarded 42 percent of grant dollars, while community foundations and public foundation gave 12 percent of the total.

Among 100 of the state’s largest foundations, which together represent two-thirds of all grantmaking in the state, education received 26 percent of dollars awarded, more than any other issue area.

Human services received 23 percent of total charitable dollars, followed by public affairs and society benefit, which received 18 percent.

In 2009, 52 percent charitable dollars awarded by Minnesota grantmakers left the state, a reversal from 2007, when 55 percent of grant dollars benefited Minnesota nonprofits.

While grantmaking was down in 2009, funders’ assets grew 6 percent to reach a combined total of $18.3 billion, a gain the report says could lead to higher foundation giving in future years.

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