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A historic summit between North and South Korea. Also on the Friday rundown: teachers continue their fight for funding; the EPA chief grilled on Capitol Hill; and remembering those who’ve lost their lives on the job.

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Big Foundations Make Money, but Charitable Giving is Down

Assets for America's largest foundations are on the rise, but a new report says those working on social justice issues are not sharing in that wealth. (V.Carter)
Assets for America's largest foundations are on the rise, but a new report says those working on social justice issues are not sharing in that wealth. (V.Carter)
January 16, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Foundations receiving tax-deductible contributions are booming, but a new report says little of the new money pouring in makes its way to those working on social justice issues.

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) report says between 2003 and 2013, which included the Great Recession, the assets of the country's grant-making foundations increased by more than $320 billion.

But report author Ryan Schlegel says little of that new money reached those who suffered the most during that same decade.

"While grant-making from the 1,000 largest foundations in the United States for under-served communities grew by a little bit, about 5 percentage points, grant-making for social justice philanthropy was stagnant," he points out.

The report defines "social justice organizations" as not-for-profit groups working for structural changes that will benefit those who are least well off politically, economically and socially.

Schlegel notes that, in the 11 years of the study, the 1,000 largest foundations gave an average of less than one-third (31 percent) of their total grant-making dollars to under-served communities.

"And social justice grant-making was still only about 10 percent,” he states. “And both of those are pretty troublingly low when you consider the challenges that are facing those under-served communities, and our nation as a whole."

The NCRP report asks if foundations will continue to enjoy generous tax benefits in a political climate that's increasingly hostile to equal rights issues, or if they can change course to better guard the public trust they've been given.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD