Large St. Louis Companies Compensate for Region's Few Foundations

Large St. Louis Companies Compensate for Region's Few Foundations

According to a study commissioned by Gateway to Giving, large companies in St. Louis give $2,717 per employee to nonprofit groups each year — more than seven times the national average of $478 per employee for Fortune 500 companies nationwide — the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

Overall, local businesses gave an estimated $606 million to charities last year, including products and services, with $365.6 million of that remaining in the region. Without the largest companies factored in, St. Louis businesses gave an average of $402 per employee, significantly closer to the national average.

The study also revealed that St. Louis does not have as many private foundations as other cities of similar size. Its foundations have $57 in assets per capita, compared with $94 nationwide. Total assets at local private foundations added up to about $2.8 billion in 2002, excluding university endowments.

"Whether it's been purposeful or not, the large corporations here have filled the void that exists because there are not as many large foundations in St. Louis," said Bruce Anderson, president of the Danforth Foundation, the city's second largest foundation with $263 million in assets. "Companies in other cities may not have to step up to the plate as much as they do in St. Louis."

Gateway to Giving, a coalition formed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy to promote giving in the region, commissioned the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University to conduct the study. The Greater St. Louis Community Foundation and the national New Ventures in Philanthropy provided support.