The Pittsburgh Foundation has announced that in 2016 it awarded grants totaling $43.1 million, an increase of 22 percent over the $35.3 million it awarded in 2015, even as gift and donation income fell on a year-over-year basis, from $50.1 million to $44.6 million.
In 2016, the foundation made 7,371 grants, of which nearly 3,550 totaling some $20.5 million were directed by donors through their donor-advised funds, up 25 percent from 2015. "Our grants management staff reported unusually high grantmaking activity by donors leading up to and after the election, which demonstrates the trust that donors place in community foundations to act responsively and quickly to community needs in times of uncertainty," said Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO Maxwell King.
The foundation also saw a significant uptick in cash donations following the election: giving during the final two months of the year totaled $18 million, compared with $10 million during the same period in 2015. According to Yvonne Maher, senior vice president for development and donor services at the foundation, the upswing in the stock market after the election, as well as the possibility that Congress could cap or limit deductions for charitable giving in its next budget, likely were factors in the surge.
At the same time, gift and donation income from living donors declined from $25.8 million in 2015 to $16.5 million in 2016. The 2015 total was artificially inflated by a $15 million gift from Richard and Priscilla Hunt, the largest from a living donor or donors in the foundation's 70-year history. Gifts from bequests totaled $8.3 million in 2016, $3.3 million more than in 2015.
"There was no mega-gift, no home run per se, so to raise almost $45 million against the backdrop of significant political and market turmoil is an outstanding testament to the generosity of Pittsburghers," said Maher.
"Our new and long-time donors were acting generously in reaction to the daily news we've all been exposed to," said King. "They're highly aware of the great need in the community, especially given concerns around state and federal support for essential human services."