Leading foundations pledge to give more, hoping to turn philanthropy on its head

The Carnegie Corporation was among those that refused to commit to spending more. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was another. Stephen Heintz, its chairman, said its spending will increase this year but its board has yet to decide by how much.

Larry Kramer, chairman of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, said in March that the $9.7 billion foundation would not increase spending because it “would require selling devalued assets from an already diminished endowment, thus blocking losses permanently, to the certain detriment of future beneficiaries and the communities they will serve.

Since then, financial markets have rebounded almost entirely from their March lows. Vidya Krishnamurthy, spokesperson for the foundation, said it was “reassessing how best to meet the immediate and future needs of our grantees, amid current crises and changing market conditions“.

Thousands of nonprofits – from community theaters to food pantries to small rural hospitals – are fighting for their survival. A study released this week by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that 90% of nonprofit groups surveyed had to cancel or postpone fundraising events and 81% had to cut programs or services. At the same time, more than half said demand for their services had increased.

Many of these groups rely on foundations as their main source of funding.

“Frankly, the house is on fire right now, and if they don’t save the nonprofits, they’re going to have to rebuild the whole industry,” said Chitra Hanstad, executive director of World Relief Seattle, which provides refugee services. , asylum seekers and others. With its funds running out, the band is considering a series of layoffs.

The Ford Foundation was established in 1936 with a $25,000 grant from Edsel Ford, son of Ford Motor founder Henry Ford. In recent years, he has dedicated himself to addressing economic and racial inequality, funding groups like Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police brutality, and Color of Change, which works to help black communities.

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