Grants to Rural CDCs Rise Slightly

Foundation grants to groups in two rural development networks rose modestly since 2006, the year Sen. Max Baucus issued his challenge to double rural philanthropy. These findings will be part of a larger presentation on the state of rural philanthropy at next week’s National Rural Assembly.

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Foundation grants to some of the nation’s most highly regarded rural community development corporations grew significantly in the years following a U.S. senator’s 2006 call for the nation’s philanthropies to do a better job in rural America.

But by 2011 those gains in funding had largely disappeared.

Reporting in Nonprofit Quarterly last week, Rick Cohen (also a contributor to the Daily Yonder) says private foundation grants to key rural community development organizations grew only slightly in the five-year period starting in 2006. That’s the year Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) challenged the nation’s charitable foundations to double their gifts to rural projects within five years.

Cohen will present these findings and the results of a larger study on rural grantmaking at a plenary session of the National Rural Assembly on June 25 in Bethesda, Maryland. 

In his Nonprofit Quarterly report, Cohen looked at grants to organizations in the rural program of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC) and the NeighborWorks Rural Initiative. These networks include 58 and 80 community development corporations (CDCs) respectively. They work on a variety of community development projects in rural communities including housing and business development.

Cohen’s study found that grants to groups in these networks increased nearly 19% in both 2008 and 2009 (see table). But by 2011, contributions had fallen back nearly to 2006 levels. 


 

Foundation Grants to Member Groups of Rural LISC and NeighborWorks Rural Initiative

Year

 

Total foundation grants

 

Percent change from previous year

 

Percentage of tot. fdn. support in loans/PRIs

 

Median grant size

 

Mean grant size

 

Average foundation grant total per organization

2011

$6,727,519

-22.1%

25.2%

$17,823

$67,718

$100,411

2010

$8,632,257

-8.5%

2.9%

$10,000

$44,727

$128,840

2009

$9,429,006

18.9%

11.9%

$15,000

$49,366

$140,731

2008

$7,927,578

18.5%

16.6%

$12,500

$40,038

$118,322

2007

$6,691,705

5.1%

29.3%

$15,000

$43,453

$99,876

2006

$6,364,314

-18.7%

20.8%

$10,000

$37,002

$94,989

 


Compiled by Rick Cohen from Foundation Center’s online database and Form 990 data from Guidestar. Originally published in Nonprofit Quarterly.

Foundation support to these CDCs was greater when Cohen counted “program related investments,” which are loans that foundations make to nonprofits to use as capital in their work. 

“The implication to be drawn is that the best rural community development organizations in the nation have a hard row to hoe in tapping foundation support,” Cohen wrote in Nonprofit Quarterly.

He said foundations have enough capital to improve their rural grantmaking. “A foundation sector that has long recovered from its recessionary downturn has the capital to meet Sen. Baucus’s long-forgotten challenge and to reinvest in the stabilization of American’s urban and rural communities,” he wrote. “In the aftermath of the recession, now is not the time for foundations to pull back, either from rural or from housing and community development.”

Cohen also made a list of the top funders of CDCs in Rural LISC and NeighborWorks Rural Initiative. Notably, he said more than half of the foundation funding for these groups came from 10 foundations. He also noted that smaller, regional foundations were giving a relatively large proportion of grants to these CDCs.

Data for the report was taken from the online grants database of the Foundation Center and from the encapsulation of IRS Form 990 data available from Guidestar.

Cohen’s presentation at the National Rural Assembly will be part of the panel “The State of Rural Philanthropy: Changing It.” Other presenters on this panel will be Robert L. Jackson, a Mississippi state senator, and Sandra Mikush of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. (Assembly program agenda.) (The Center for Rural Strategies, which publishes the Daily Yonder, is the coordinating agency of the National Rural Assembly.)


 

Top Foundation Grantmakers to Member Groups of Rural LISC and NeighborWorks Rural Initiative

 

Foundation

 

Grant/loan investments to rural community developers 2006-2011

 

Percentage of all foundation grant/loan support to rural community developers

Ford Foundation

 $             7,145,000

12.1

F.B. Heron Foundation

 $             4,152,500

7.0

Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

 $             4,095,000

6.9

Meyer Memorial

 $             3,018,523

5.1

Annie E. Casey Foundation

 $             2,965,000

5.0

Bank of America Foundation

 $             2,372,250

4.0

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

 $             2,339,866

4.0

Kresge Foundation

 $             1,900,000

3.2

Wells Fargo Foundation

 $             1,529,300

2.6

California Endowment

 $             1,391,443

2.4

Marguerite Casey Foundation

 $             1,327,500

2.2

Arthur M. Blank Foundation

 $             1,236,000

2.1

JP Morgan Chase Foundation

 $             1,117,837

1.9

Rasmuson Foundation

 $             1,084,490

1.8

Iowa West Foundation

 $             1,083,000

1.8

Citi Foundation

 $                 787,000

1.3

TD Charitable

 $                 767,500

1.3

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

 $                 760,500

1.3

Dyson Foundation

 $                 610,000

1.0

Oregon Community Foundation

 $                 549,504

0.9

Longwood Foundation

 $                 549,500

0.9

Otto Bremer Foundation

 $                 522,033

0.9

William Randolph Hearst Foundation

 $                 500,000

0.8

Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation

 $                 485,250

0.8

Community Foundation Fox Valley

 $                 454,500

0.8

New Hampshire Charitable

 $                 443,449

0.7

Sandy River Charitable Foundation

 $                 410,000

0.7

Compiled by Rick Cohen from Foundation Center’s online database and Form 990 data from Guidestar. Originally published in Nonprofit Quarterly.

 

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