Trends in Northwest Giving 2014

Trends in Northwest Giving 2014

Cover image for Trends in NW Giving 2014 report-a elder man with gray hair and mustache wearing a white shirt and white cowboy hat

About this resource

Publish date: 
February, 2015
Philanthropy Northwest
Foundation Center

In 2012, we explored philanthropy’s response to the worst economic crisis in our country since the Great Depression. We reported that contributions from foundations and corporations declined over 23% from 2008 to 2010 because of the recession’s impact on foundation assets and uncertainty about the future.

In this 5th edition of "Trends in Northwest Giving - 2014," we analyzed 23,783 grants to northwest organizations from 245 funders in 2012, totaling $958,347,806. This represents a 4% decline in giving over 2010.

We were not surprised by this finding. The Foundation Center predicted that national giving by foundations and corporations would remain flat in 2012 given the volatile economic recovery, while over 77% of Philanthropy Northwest members that responded to our annual survey expected their giving to remain flat or decrease.

Key Findings

  • Dramatic state-by-state variation in grantmaking trends. Washington and Wyoming saw strong upticks in total giving (12% and 16%, respectively), while Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Montana saw sharp declines ranging from 18 to 48%.
  • Corporate giving is up sharply, but not all states are seeing the benefits. Corporate giving increased by 17% from 2010 to 2012, but most of the growth occurred in Washington and Oregon.
  • Education receives the largest share of grant dollars, a total of $239 million, or 25% of regional grantmaking. The top five education funders accounted for 40% of all education giving.
  • Health funding grew more than any other category but is still far below national levels. Nationally, funders gave the highest proportion of dollars to health-related issues (22%). Northwest funders, by comparison, gave a relatively small proportion (11%) of overall dollars to health in 2012. However, overall grantmaking to health is on the rise—up 42% in 2012 to $101 million.

We also want to take note of the importance of “giving beyond the grant.” While beyond the scope of this report, many of our members are placing significant human and financial capital in mission investments, cross-sector collaboration and advocacy strategies.