With times tight, foundations rethink how they do business

Posted on: June 4, 2009

In Thursday’s (6/4) New York Times, Stephanie Strom writes, “The board of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has loosened the strings on some grants to arts organizations to help them weather a severe downturn in fund-raising and income from ticket sales and the like. … Foundations are facing a sharp increase in demand for aid, even as their assets have declined, which is forcing them to rethink the way they do business. Some foundations have decided to increase the amount they dispense each year, even though that may trigger a higher excise tax. Others are allocating their grants to support nonprofit groups’ operating costs, when they have traditionally supported only program expenses. In ordinary times, renegotiating grant agreements, as Duke is doing, would be unusual. But of the 79 foundations responding to a recent survey by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, 16 said they had invited organizations to do just that. … Last November, James E. Canales, chief executive of the James Irvine Foundation, sent a letter to the nonprofits its supports offering flexibility on grant terms.”

Posted June 4, 2009