Low donations and diminished endowments will hinder green movement
It’s the end of the year, and if your inbox is anything like mine, you’ve received a deluge of end-of-year donation requests from your favorite nonprofits.
On behalf of my brethren nonprofit directors, let me share some insight into current nonprofit funding dynamics before you hit the delete button.
First, this was an extraordinary election year. Obama, for example, set fundraising records, and while individual donations are not necessarily a zero sum game, let’s take you for an example. Maybe you are thinking — hey, I gave a lot to my favorite political candidate(s), times are tight, and I’m going to keep my wallet in my pocket. If so, you are not alone. And you scare the bejabbers out of us.
How about foundations? Foundations have lots of money, right? Well, they did. Most endowed foundations keep their endowment in stock, and give out 5 percent of their endowment every year. So, if a foundation had an endowment of $1 billion and made grant commitments of $50,000,000 in 2008, well, their endowment is now down to maybe $700,000 million, and their current commitments are $15 million over their comfort level. My fellow nonprofit colleagues are, in a word, freaking-out.
Times are tight all over, but if your favorite nonprofit is doing work you appreciate to, say, fight Bush’s last minute midnight regulation blitz or provide quality policy suggestions for a green stimulus, know that any pennies you throw their way are needed now more than ever.