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Philanthropy Versus Recession:

The downturn in the economy has impacted philanthropic giving but not in the ways most people would expect.At a Foundation Center Proposal Writing Basics presentation at the Santa Monica Main Library on March 9, the Center’s Training Coordinator, Scott Ullman, noted the Center has found in the 53 years that they have been around, that in general foundation giving does not tend to go down during a recession. Why? During a recession individuals and others tend to cut back in their donations but foundations tend to try to provide more funding up front in a recession’s first year. That’s why Ullman is projecting 2009 will be a good year but “2010 will be a disastrous year regardless of whether the recession ends or not.”A recent survey of the top 100 largest funders in the United States found two-thirds of these funders intended to give the same amount of money in 2009 as 2008 and one-third intended to give less according to Ullman. “The bad news is in a recession foundations tend to give to organizations they already have a relationship with” It is these relationships that will help many of these entities survive during these tough times. Unfortunately, they may not accept applications from new organizations or individuals because they are trying to maintain the giving they have done in the past. There are about 1.5 million non-profits in the United States that are registered as 501.C3s with the I.R.S. while there are about 1-3 million who are not registered as 501.3Cs. There is a lot of competition out there for foundation funding as well as a duplication of non-profit services. An organization or individual needs to do in depth research in order to find the right foundation to request funding from.The number of foundations out there is between 55,000 to 96,000 and about two-thirds of them give away less than $75,00 per year. If an organization or an individual is interested in finding sources of funding they can access the Foundation Center’s Grants Collection at the Main Library free of charge.The Main Library’s literature states that the “Foundation Center (www.fdcenter.org) is a national organization that provides education and training about grant seeking, philanthropy, and foundations in the United States.” The library’s “collection consists of a core group of directories and manuals published by the Foundation Center plus additional titles on corporate funding, government funding, special interest funding, starting and managing nonprofits, and grant proposal writing.”

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