In Foundations

Micronews on philanthropy.

Arts Organizations Face Challenges

From the Associated Press:

The Connecticut Opera has gone out of business after 67 seasons, the latest arts group to fall victim to the economic downturn and sagging charitable donations. . . .

Orchestras, ballets and opera companies across the country are facing huge deficits. The Los Angeles Opera is laying off 17 people, cutting salaries and will stage fewer performances this year. The Miami City Ballet is cutting eight dancers. The Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy.

The nation’s premier opera company, the Metropolitan Opera, this week dropped four productions from the 2009-10 season and slashed salaries because of the economy. The Opera Orchestra of New York also canceled its two remaining performances this season because of the recession.

The nonprofit group Americans for the Arts estimates 10,000 arts organizations could disappear in 2009.

Full article here.

Via @Philanthropy.

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Filed under: arts, economy

CNN: Worse To Come?

From CNN:

For some, the downturn may not have hit yet. The Salvation Army, the nation’s second-largest charity, does not yet have projections for the year, but last year’s Christmas Internet donations were up more than 25%, from $7.9 million to $10.1 million, said Melissa Temme, the organization’s public relations director.

“More people are giving, but the size of the donation is going down,” she said, noting that the average donation dropped from $225 in 2007 to $190 last year.

Still, more than 93% of fundraisers said the economy is affecting their jobs negatively, “including 28.5% who reported a very negative impact,” said Una Osili, interim director of research at the Center on Philanthropy, in a news release. “However, just over 21% of those surveyed expect the economic impact to be positive six months from now.”

Full article here.

Filed under: economy

NY Daily News: Latino Nonprofits Feel The Squeeze

From the New York Daily News:

The bad economy has dealt a big blow to the city’s Latino nonprofits, many of which have been forced to cut hours, reduce services and even consider closing.

From theaters and language centers to housing and employment programs, organizations that have served the Latino community for decades are now struggling to stay afloat.

“The nonprofit sector is taking a triple whammy with the loss of funding from foundations, government and corporations,” said Lillian Rodríguez López, president of the Hispanic Federation, an umbrella group representing more than 90 Latino organizations in the city.

Full article here.

Via AFP.

Filed under: economy, nonprofits

Car Donations To Charity Down

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

At the National Kidney Foundation, gross revenue from car donations totaled $12.8 million in 2008, down 34% from $19.5 million in 2004.

Before the stock market melted down, before the government starting writing multibillion-dollar bailout checks, the folks at Rawhide Inc. knew something was going wrong with the economy.

Donations of cars to the New London charity were sinking. After falling off sharply in 2005, when tax laws limited the tax deduction a donor could take, vehicle donations continued slipping again last year.

“We noticed the economy was on a downward trend before everybody else did,” said Tim Costello, executive director of the nonprofit, which runs a ranch for troubled teens.

. . . .

Charity Cars, a Florida-based nonprofit that refurbishes donated cars and provides them directly to disadvantaged people, handled about $8 million worth of vehicles in fiscal year 2006-’07.

“This year, we will be lucky to do half that amount,” said Brian Menzies, Charity Cars chief executive officer. “When people aren’t buying new cars, they aren’t donating their old ones.”

Full article here.

Via @SuburbNews.

Filed under: economy

Gala Toned Down (via @rosettathurman)

From the Washington Business Journal:

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington is doing things a little differently this year — they are scaling back on the glitz and glamor of their annual benefit gala.

The event on Feb. 14 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel is the biggest single fundraising mechanism for the charity’s programs, which supported more than 114,000 people last year through housing, food, legal aide, and other services.

The gala budget, or the cost to produce the black-tie event, was cut by about 20 percent to $250,000. . . .

[A spokesperson] said cutting costs to hold the event is helping to maximize the percentage of funds that go directly to an agency that has served 18 percent more families in need through its D.C. and Maryland centers since the economy nosedived last fall.

Full article here.

Via @rosettathurman.

Filed under: economy

Stimulus Holds Little For Philanthropy

From the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

The economic-stimulus package passed by the Senate today does not include a number of measures that nonprofit and foundation leaders had proposed to help ease the impact of the recession on the philanthropic world.

As these provisions were also left out of the House bill, the chances that they will be included in the final stimulus package are slim.

They include . . .

Full article here.

Filed under: economy, government

Alaska Foundation To Cut Giving

From the Associated Press:

The shaky economy has slashed the assets of a philanthropic Alaska foundation and that will mean fewer dollars going to nonprofit organizations.

A spokeswoman for the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska’s largest private philanthropic organization, said it will award no large grants worth $25,000 or more this year.

Full article here.

Via the Chronicle of Philanthropy (@philanthropy).

Filed under: economy

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Cuts Workforce

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Hit by the economic crisis, Silicon Valley Community Foundation is laying off 14 percent of its workforce and closing its San Jose office. . . . A statement on the foundation’s website said the cuts were necessary due to a 22 percent drop in its total assets from $1.9 billion to $1.5 billion in the past 12 months, a decline triggered by the stock market plunge. In addition, although the foundation raised $190 million in donations, that represented a 36 percent drop from the previous year.

Full article here.

Via @adincmiller.

Filed under: economy

COF Report: Fdn Asset Values Declined 28% Last Year

From the Council On Foundations:

Survey results just released by the Council on Foundations at the Family Philanthropy Conference in Indianapolis showed that family, independent, and public foundations experienced a 28 percent decline in their asset values over the course of 2008. . . .

  • While nearly half of assets were held in equities at the end of 2008, more than two-fifths of respondents noted that the share of assets held in equities had dropped. Also, more than a third noted an increase in the proportion of assets held in fixed-income securities and cash. . . .
  • While the use of investment managers is nearly universal, nearly half had already changed managers or were considering making a change – in fact more than half of larger foundations ($100 million or more in assets) had already made a change. . . .

More here and full report here.

Filed under: economy

NonProf Head: Don’t Be Greedy

From Robert Eggers (pres., D.C. Central Kitchen) One Voice For Change:

I was just talking with a colleague who was suggesting that we should pony up to the federal trough for funds linked to the bailout. I suggested that our work . . . could be realistically portrayed as economic stimulators, as they recycle, train, do social enterprise, etc, etc..

Anyway…during this back and forth, I said that even though I was proud of our product, I was uncomfortable asking for any dough right now. She said the opposite—she was going to grab for whatever she could get.

Folks—this kind of thing, which is the DC game in spades, will KILL US. All over this town, nonprofits are lining up, trying to bum rush the White House or the Hill to get their cause, committee or chair to the front of the line. More are working to get their bucket under the spigot.

I warn you all—the public trust in nonprofits is already at an all time low. Pundits know that the public is primed to hate on somebody, and they’ve got a financial stake in finding the next greedy bastard to hoist on their own petard (look it up). Similarly, ever pol in this city is now on double secret alert. They’ll want to prove that they “get it” to the folks back home. The next idiot who steps in it will be fried–fast and furious–and the way some nonprofits in this city are behaving right now is (inadvertantly) setting the stage for us to be the next [victims].

Full post here.

Via @philanthropy.

Filed under: economy, government