Introducing Trends in Northwest Giving 2017

Introducing Trends in Northwest Giving 2017

Audrey Haberman, Interim CEO

Since 2006, Philanthropy Northwest has published biennial reports on grantmaking trends for our region — Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming — based on the most recent data available from a combination of our membership network, Form 990s and intermediaries. These reports aim to reflect our collective giving, encourage more conversations and help inform your strategies.

For this sixth edition of Trends in Northwest Giving, we are presenting this report in collaboration with Foundation Center, which collects grants data directly from organizations across the Northwest and nationwide. This partnership enables us to tell a story based on a larger pool of funders, in three parts: key findings, based on a snapshot of $1.8 billion granted to our region by more than 4,000 funders in 2014; trends over time, based on a subset of 1,387 funders that reported data for both 2012 and 2014; and state-by-state variations.


  • Northwest philanthropy is on the rise. Grantmaking to our region jumped more than 40% between 2012 and 2014, a complete reversal of the recession-related declines reported in the last two editions of this report.
  • Place-based funding remains vital. Although this report now includes many more funders from across the country, eight of the top 10 funders are based in our region — a trend we also see in the individual state lists.
  • Health and education receive the most support. Fueled by multimillion-dollar grants to research institutions, health is now the issue area receiving the largest share of philanthropic dollars to the Northwest. Close behind, education funding ranges from major gifts to universities to local grants for early childhood programs.
  • Northwest funders look beyond programs. Project-related funding remains the most common grant type reported, but there has been a shift toward increased support for capacity-building, technical assistance, research and evaluation — helping nonprofits test and scale their work in our communities.
  • Native communities inspire Northwest philanthropy. Within the narrow slice of grant dollars allocated for people of color, funding for Alaska Native and Native American communities in our six-state region accounted for 25% of the grant funding to Native populations nationwide.

Thank you to all the organizations that reported their grants to Foundation Center, and to our partners at Foundation Center for collecting and analyzing this vast pool of data. We invite you to share your thoughts on these trends and to visit for more information.

Audrey Haberman is Philanthropy Northwest's interim CEO and managing partner of The Giving Practice, our national consulting team. She can be reached at