As Economy Improves, Giving By Ohio Foundations Beginning to Recover

With the value of their stock portfolios on the mend, many foundations in the Miami Valley region of Ohio expect to increase their giving in 2011, the Dayton Daily News reports.

Between 2007 and 2008, the Dayton-based Kettering Family Foundation saw its assets fall from $22.6 million to $15.7 million and its grantmaking dip below $1 million. Similarly, the Levin Family Foundation, which reported assets valued at $23.5 million in 2007, saw those assets fall to $16.2 million in 2008, before recovering to $20.3 million in 2009. Meanwhile, the Dayton Foundation, the largest foundation in the Miami Valley area, saw the value of its assets climb to $370 million at the end of 2010 — a significant increase after falling to $286 million in 2009. "We've recovered and then some," said Mike Parks, the foundation's president.

According to George Espy, president of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, the assets of grantmaking foundations in Ohio fell from an estimated $18.9 billion in 2007 to $15.6 billion in 2009, while total giving by foundations in the state dropped from $1.3 billion to $1.2 billion. However, a recent survey conducted by OGF found that nearly 40 percent of Ohio foundations expect to boost their grantmaking in 2011, while 40 percent expect disbursement to remain the same and 20 percent expect to give less.

Still, while nonprofits in the Dayton area are pleased that the value of funders' endowments is recovering along with the economy, many remain cautious about the overall funding landscape. The Victoria Theatre Association, for example, receives 17 percent of its funding in the form of gifts, but foundations account for only about 5 percent of that. "We can't put all of our eggs in one basket," Michael Roediger, the association's vice president of development, told the Daily News. "Do we want to get support from foundations? Yes. But I've seen too many nonprofits seek all of their funding [from foundations] and that could be dangerous."

Cornelius Frolik. "Foundations Getting More, Giving More." Dayton Daily News 02/18/2011.