More Foundations Opening Wallet for Human Services

Nonprofit organizations in Colorado received more funds than ever from grant makers and foundations in 2006, and the good news is the trend will continue, according to a new study by the Colorado Association of Funders (CAF). Although individual giving remains the main source of funding for many nonprofits, organized giving through corporate, community and private foundations has dramatically increased funding from 2003 to 2006. According to the Colorado Giving Study, these foundations gave $250 million in 2003 compared to $413 million in 2006.

“There are a lot of reasons why we are seeing an increase,” explained Alesia McCloud-Chan, executive director of the CAF, a membership organization for grant makers throughout the state that promotes responsible philanthropy in Colorado. “Definitely, a robust economy has had a positive effect, and foundations are also responding to greater needs in the human services sector.”

Human services include community youth programs, senior citizen services, homeless assistance, domestic violence safe houses and food banks.

“Because foreclosure and immigration issues are continuously increasing their impact on human services, foundations are responding,” noted Gabriel Guillaume, executive director of the Community Resource Center.

In the study, private foundations accounted for 65 percent of the total giving in 2006 and allocated over half of their contributions to health and human services. In contrast, education was their top concern in 2003.

Federated funders, like United Way, and corporate foundations have increased their support to human service needs, as have community foundations, which have more than doubled their grant resources since 2003.

“This increase in funding from organized philanthropy is good news for nonprofits throughout the state,” said McCloud-Chan, “but it is important to recognize that in Colorado and across the country, more than 75 percent of charitable dollars come directly from individual donors.”

Diagrams from the Colorado Giving Study