Recession Causes Drop in MN’s Charitable Giving

Total grants made in the state decreased 9.3 percent in 2009 from 2008, compared to a 5 percent drop between 2007 and 2008.

Charitable giving in Minnesota dropped 9.3 percent between 2008 and 2009 because of a shaky economy, according to an annual report released Monday by the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF).

The Giving in Minnesota report provides an analysis of the trends and patterns of organized philanthropy in the state.

Grants made in the 2009 research year-which includes financial information from foundations and corporate giving programs with fiscal years ending between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010-totaled $4.9 billion, compared to $5.4 billion in 2008. The 2009 research year is the latest year for which data is available.

The state's giving declined by 5 percent from 2007 to 2008-the first drop after several years of year-over-year increases or flat giving.

Anne Bauers, research manager at the MCF, told Twin Cities Business that it is typical to see declines in charitable giving during a recession. For example, the MCF found that grants made in Minnesota dropped 2.9 percent in 2002-the year of the last recession.

In 2009, individual giving-which accounted for 72 percent of the state's giving-declined 11.3 percent from 2008, to $3.6 billion.

Foundation and corporate grantmaking accounted for 28 percent-or $1.37 billion-in 2009, a decrease of 3.6 percent from 2008. Nearly half of those grants were made by corporate foundations and giving programs. Top contributors included Target ($134 million), General Mills ($79 million), and Medtronic ($57 million).

While assets of Minnesota foundations increased by 6 percent between 2008 and 2009, the asset decline of 10.7 percent from 2007 to 2008-the largest single-year decline since 1995-remained a factor in 2009's decrease in giving, according to the report.

The three areas that received the largest shares of Minnesota's grant dollars were education, human services, and public affairs/society benefit-at 26 percent, 23 percent, and 18 percent, respectively. The Twin Cities metro area received 30 percent of the total grant dollars, Greater Minnesota received 10 percent, and 8 percent was given statewide.