Trends in Northwest Giving 2012

Trends in Northwest Giving 2012

Cover image for Trends in NW Giving 2012 report-a picture of 5 dandelion-like seed pods

About this resource

Publish date: 
July, 2012
Philanthropy Northwest
Foundation Center

In 2010, we reported that contributions from foundations and corporations to the region’s nonprofits reached $1.3 billion in 2008, a new high for organized philanthropy in our region. But even as we reported this impressive number, we knew that the recession was dramatically changing the upward trajectory of philanthropy. In this edition of "Trends in Northwest Giving - 2012," we explore organized philanthropy’s response to the worst economic news in the country since the Great Depression.

The 2012 edition of Trends in Northwest Giving captures more than $1.08 billion made to the Northwest in 2010. This is a 23.5% decline from the numbers reported in 2008. When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s data is removed, the decline is less dramatic at 13.5%. (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s effect on the numbers is predominantly explained by variations in the international health category.) In either case, the reported decline is significant. Nonetheless, we believe it is equally important to highlight that giving reported in 2010 was 20% higher than giving reported in 2006 when excluding the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and 6% lower than in 2006 when including it.

Other trends we explore in this report:

  • Post-recession reductions in capital grants;
  • The continuing prevalence of small grants: more than half smaller than $10,000;
  • Increased regionalism suggested by the number of foundations and corporations that are funding in multiple Northwest states;
  • A 16% increase in dollars to Indian Country at a time when most categories are down.

The data also reminds us that a single individual can make a big difference in the philanthropic landscape. While our data reflects the activities of organized philanthropy (less than 20% of all giving according to Giving USA) and does not report individual giving patterns, we do capture donor-advised funds at community foundations. This year a donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation distributed approximately $44 million dollars in the Northwest.

Finally, we want to thank the foundations and corporations who shared their grantmaking information with us, and the Foundation Center, whose team assisted our staff in coding thousands of grants. Without this help, we could not deliver our report.