Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415

Steven Lawrence
Senior Director of Research
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2410

New York, NY -- August 27, 2007. U.S. foundations and corporations have committed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind giving for relief, recovery, and rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to a report released today by the Foundation Center. The report, Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes, documents the experiences and insights of leading funders and provides the most comprehensive record available of the resources that institutional donors provided in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

"Two years after the Gulf Coast hurricanes, we have a more complete picture of how institutional donors have supported the region," said Steven Lawrence, senior director of research at the Foundation Center and the report's principal author. "Foundations, corporations, and other institutional donors went far beyond their grantmaking guidelines to respond to immediate needs and to provide support for recovery and rebuilding efforts."

Key data findings include:

  • Corporate giving accounted for the majority of cash giving by institutional donors -- $519 million, or 57 percent.
  • Corporate giving focused more on immediate relief, while foundations focused more on recovery and rebuilding.
  • The South rallied to take care of its own: grantmakers in just five Southern states, namely, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, and Louisiana, collectively accounted for over one-fifth or 21.6 percent of the institutional response to the disaster.
  • Most giving (83 percent) went to intermediary organizations outside of Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • A few large foundations dominated foundation giving, although the Foundation Center tracked support from more than 500.
  • More than 200 institutional donors (about one in four) contributed $1 million or more for relief and recovery efforts.
  • Religiously affiliated organizations received over one-fifth of total distaster response contributions from institutional donors whose giving was tracked in this study.

Interviews with Top Funders Find Continuing Commitment to Region
The report also includes an analysis of interviews with 10 of the top 25 independent foundations that responded to the disaster. Among key findings: Six of the 10 grantmakers reported either having provided more funds than expected at the outset of the disaster or not placing a cap on giving. Despite the tendency of most institutional donors to limit their disaster-response giving to initial relief efforts, the majority of these foundations also reported that they continue to fund Gulf Coast recovery and rebuilding efforts.

"Nearly all the funders we interviewed expressed a favorable view of the foundation community's response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes," said Lawrence. "Most also cited the scale of damage in the region and the lack of a strong civil society sector as reasons for remaining engaged beyond the timeframe they may have originally anticipated."

The data in this report is based on the reported giving and commitments of more than 850 institutional donors through June 2007. The report can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.

The Foundation Center's Gulf Coast Hurricanes Philanthropic Response project was funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Starbucks Foundation, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 47,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of more than 340 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

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