Despite Economic Woes, Foundation Giving Rises
Foundation giving rose by 5 percent last year, to a record high of $29 billion, a recent report from the Foundation Center says. The increase was greater than expected, considering the economic downturn and a sharp decline in the stock market, according to the center, a New York City-based organization that tracks institutional philanthropy.
“Many people expected foundation giving to decline along with the economy in 2001,” said Sara Engelhardt, the Foundation Center’s president. “But foundation endowments are a stabilizing influence among sources of nonprofit support.”
But the rise still fell far short of the 18.2 percent increase in giving posted in 2000.
The outpouring of charitable giving that followed the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 can partially explain the increase, the report says.
In response to the attacks, independent and community foundations pledged nearly $195 million and paid out most of that money in 2001.
In addition, many leading foundations are fulfilling commitments they made during the late 1990s through mid-2000, the report says.
Overall, foundation giving has more than doubled since 1996. That outpaces growth in giving by individuals and corporations during the same period. Corporate giving rose by 2.6 percent last year, and individual giving rose by 5.4 percent.
Mentoring Advice Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore has joined with state business leaders to start an organization that aids efforts to provide adult mentors to children in the state.
Read more about the “Mississippi Mentoring Network.”
The Mississippi Mentoring Network, which launched a Web site last month, provides assistance and information on mentoring opportunities in the state.
Mentors generally go to schools to provide support, advice, tutoring, and friendship to children, but the site points out that mentors do not buy expensive gifts for students, make critical decisions for them, or take the place of a parent or guardian.
Mississippi officials have started a new Web site to provide advice to groups seeking mentors for children.
Through the new site, www.mentor.ms, groups that are interested in starting a program in the state can find advice on specifics such as setting goals, attracting participants, training mentors, and evaluating volunteers’ service.
The Web site also provides programs with information resources, such as links to other mentoring groups, explanations about how to perform background checks on mentors, and guidance on funding sources.
In June, high school seniors who are mentors will be able to download applications from the site for college scholarships totaling $250,000 that will be given by the organization.
The site, which includes a list of the 60 mentoring programs in the state, is sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council, the state’s chamber of commerce, and a group of eight Mississippi-based businesses.
Hot on the heels of a national drive headed by President Bush for increased community involvement and volunteerism, Kids Voting USA has introduced a new service-learning curriculum for high school students.
Read more about Kids Voting USA.
The curriculum, called “Destination Democracy,” aims to bridge the gap between service learning and politics, said Kevin Bonderud, a spokesman for Kids Voting USA, based in Tempe, Ariz. Students will be encouraged to perform such civic duties as registering senior citizens to vote, working for political candidates, and educating young people about the political process.
Other activities for the students include conducting surveys on issues being debated in election campaigns, researching and addressing “voting hassles” that affect the right to vote, and analyzing the positions and backgrounds of political candidates and parties.
Only about one-third of people between the ages of 18 and 24 vote in presidential elections, according to officials with Kids Voting USA, who said that they are trying to improve that statistic through the new curriculum.
Kids Voting USA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, has already distributed the curriculum to its state affiliates, which will pass it out to local schools this year.
Educators can access information on different sources of funding through a specialized, subscription-based Web site sponsored by the Arlington, Va.-based New American Schools, a nonprofit group that promotes comprehensive school reform.
Read more about “School Funding Services.”
The site, called School Funding Services, is a searchable database, or “personal road map,” of federal, private, and public dollars available to schools for school improvement efforts, organization officials said.
School Funding Services, located at www.schoolfundingservices.org, also provides grant-writing assistance and links users to grant-proposal writers.
Subscriptions to the database come in packages that start at $3,000. Additional passwords are available for $500 each, said Matt Pickering, a business development manager for New American Schools.
—Michelle Galley firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2002 edition of Education Week as Partnerships & Philanthropy