Southwestern Foundations Awarded $6.3 Billion in 2014, Study Finds

Private and community foundations in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas awarded $6.3 billion to charitable causes in 2014, a report from Philanthropy Southwest finds.

The 2016 Giving Study: An Overview of Grantmaking by Private and Community Foundations in the Southwest (28 pages, PDF) found that foundation grantmaking in the region increased some 22.5 percent since the organization released its last study in 2014, while total assets grew 28.2 percent, to $92.5 billion. The report also found that since 2011, 604 new foundations have been established, representing nearly 10 percent of all foundations in the region, 3 percent of their combined assets, and 3.9 percent of their combined grantmaking, and that all seven states in the region saw increases in foundation assets during the three-year period, including a 50.7 percent jump in Arkansas, which was also the only state to see a decline, of some 10.5 percent, in foundation grantmaking over that period.

According to the report, the largest share of grant dollars awarded by foundations in the region went to education (28.3 percent), followed by human services (20.7 percent), public/societal benefit (15.8 percent), and health (14 percent). And as was the case in the previous report, the state with the highest share of grant dollars going to education — 38.9 percent, down significantly from 60.6 percent in 2011 — was Arkansas, with percentages for the other six states ranging from nearly 28.7 percent (Texas) to 19.4 percent (Nevada).

Of the 6,372 foundations in the study, ninety were community foundations whose combined assets totaled $10.9 billion, or 12 percent of overall foundation assets, and whose combined grantmaking totaled nearly $962 million, or 15 percent of the total for all foundations in the region. According to the report, between 2012 and 2014, community foundations' assets overall grew 31.6 percent, led by a 104.9 percent increase in Nevada, while grantmaking by community foundations increased 73 percent, led by a 169.6 percent jump in Oklahoma.

Conducted by Jankowski Associates, the report also found that fourteen healthcare conversion foundations in the region accounted for $4.5 billion in assets and $215.7 million in giving.

"This study provides everyone in the field — from charitable organizations to funders and donors, and state and national leaders — with a comprehensive and detailed look at foundations and giving in the region," said Philanthropy Southwest executive director Lucille DiDomenico. "By capturing nearly all data on foundations and giving for the region, we provide a detailed map that can help like-minded philanthropies to connect, learn from one another, and significantly advance their combined efforts to address challenging societal needs."