WASHINGTON – Maryland foundations increased their giving to nonprofit organizations modestly between 2002 and 2003, according to a report released Monday by the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.
The survey, which focused on 135 of the 1,350 Maryland foundations in 2003, found that they gave $640 million, an increase of 3 percent.
The foundations also reported a 15 percent jump in assets to $10.4 billion.
“With asset growth comes growth in giving,” said Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, communications director for the association. “What that means really is more money is going to be available to our community and to nonprofits that help to maintain everyday quality of life.”
The top three donors were Baltimore’s Annie E. Casey Foundation, which gave $172,796,971; Owings Mills’ Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, which gave more than $100 million; and Bethesda’s Ellison Medical Foundation, which contributed about $33 million.
Nonprofits specializing in human services received 28 percent of total donations from Maryland’s 500 largest foundations in 2002, while education charities got 17 percent and health organizations earned 14 percent.
Social, cultural, religious, environmental and international nonprofits received most of the rest.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Trudy Jacobson with the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. “(But) it’s still to be determined how the dollars raised are going to be distributed … how many are going to be shifted off to the disaster relief funding.”
Jacobson’s concerns were well-founded.
The Franciscan Center saw in-kind and cash donations drop 33 percent in September from last year, and the Maryland Food Bank had a decrease of up to 30 percent in some supplies since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August.
While foundation giving increased in Maryland, the figures were less than one-fifth of the $4.3 billion contributed by residents, the survey reported.
The national numbers were similar.
While 66,398 foundations gave $30.3 billion in 2003, individuals donated $143 billion.
But the Northeast accounted for almost half of all foundation giving — an increase of 3.1 percent from 2002.
And in the greater-Baltimore region — where most of the state’s foundation assets reside — donations rose by 2 percent to $428 million and assets increased by 15 percent to $7.4 billion.
“The additional funds will help foundations fill unmet needs that individuals and government may not fund,” said Betsy Nelson, executive director of the association. “They may provide seed money for innovative projects, fund capacity building to strengthen organizations or focus on historically underserved populations.”
While the Internal Revenue Service does not have data about foundation giving in Maryland beyond 2003, the survey found that half of respondents projected an increase in donations from 2004 to 2005.
“We are pleased to report that Maryland is so generous,” Nelson said. “The charitable sector and the organizations that do important work in and for our communities need additional resources to grow and strengthen their operations to meet burgeoning demand.”