Economy Negatively Affecting Wisconsin Foundation Grantmaking, Report Finds

The vast majority of Wisconsin foundations have experienced a significant drop in the value of their assets, and in response many expect to reduce their grantmaking in 2009, a new report from the Donors Forum of Wisconsin finds.

Based on data from a survey of grantmakers in the state and funded by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, the Wisconsin State of Philanthropy Report (30 pages, PDF) found that nearly 90 percent of respondents reported a decline in the value of their assets over the past twelve months, while more than half predicted they would reduce their grantmaking in 2009. According to the report, grantmaking budgets will likely shrink even more in 2010 than they do in 2009.

The report also found that in 2007 there were nearly 1,300 foundations in Wisconsin holding combined assets of over $7.25 billion; that foundations in Milwaukee County accounted for two-thirds of assets held and grants made by foundations in the state and more than half of the foundations by number; and that the value of assets and number of grants distributed by foundations have been increasing, with assets up by an average of 5.7 percent a year and grants up by an average of 4.7 percent.

"Amid the global economic uncertainty we are facing, it is important that we keep track of trends that affect philanthropic giving," said Donors Forum of Wisconsin president Deborah Fugenschuh. "This report brings together data about Wisconsin's philanthropic sector and shows the tremendous impact of grantmaking in our local communities."

"Donors Forum of Wisconsin Releases Premiere Wisconsin State of Philanthropy Report." Donors Forum of Wisconsin Press Release 05/14/2009.