Foundation Tracks Philanthropy’s Response to Gulf Coast Disasters

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The Foundation Center, a nonprofit organization that gathers and analyzes information on U.S. philanthropy, has released “Snapshot of Philanthropy's Response to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes,” an overview of corporate and foundation response to the disasters. Data for this report comes from information provided by the institutional donors through press releases, web postings and other public announcements. The Center will be tracking foundation and corporate giving over the next several years and will publish extensive detailed analysis at the end of 2006 and 2007.

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The Foundation Center's snapshot shows that total private giving reached $2.96 billion as of December 13, 2005, of which 17 percent, $490.2 million, came from institutions -- corporations, corporate foundations, community and public foundations and independent and family foundations. The institutional share of the total is likely to increase, the report says, as additional information on foundation and corporate giving is announced.

Corporate and corporate foundations donated $351,457,948, 71 percent of the total institutional response. Among the largest donors were Starkey Laboratories, which gave $25 million to the Starkey Help America Hearing Project, a business recovery program; Wal-Mart; the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (FHLBC) and Freddie Mac. Wal-Mart directed its donation, $17 million, to the American Red Cross, the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, and the Salvation Army. The FHLBC contributed $15 million to establish the Katrina Housing Assistance Fund. Freddie Mac donated $10 million to the American Red Cross; to the National Housing Trust Enterprise Preservation Corporation, to provide services to families now living in Dallas and Houston; and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to locate children and reunite families. The report notes that several major corporations eliminated their caps on corporate matching to increase their donations.

The largest award came from the independent Lilly Foundation, which donated $30 million to the American Red Cross. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, another independent, gave $15 million to various relief efforts.

Not included in the total are corporate in-kind donations. The report cites Office Depot's contribution of $17 million of supplies and the contents of five stores; and General Electric's $10 million in medical devices, power generation equipment and water purification equipment. Comcast gave $10 million and Cox Enterprises, $8 million in advertising space and IBM gave $3.2 million in technology and services. The Foundation Center has tracked 101 corporations that have given an additional $195.7 of in-kind donations for immediate relief and recovery.

The American Red Cross (ARC) was by far the largest named recipient of contributions in response to the gulf storms. ARC received $156.3 million, or 31.9 percent of designated support. The ARC says, according to the Foundation Center report, that the majority of their overall support, which will exceed $2 billion, will provide emergency financial assistance to victims. Almost 38 percent of institutional contributions have not yet been assigned, either because a recipient has not been designated, or because the amounts pledged to several organizations have not been broken down.

The Foundation Center is using the same model to track corporate and foundation response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes that they used to track institutional giving after the September 11, 2001 attack. The report notes that by comparison, as of December 2004, three years after the attack, foundation and corporate response totaled $1.1 billion.

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