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  Press Release


Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415
Loren Renz
Vice President for Research
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-3601

New Foundation Center Report:
Foundations and Corporations Have Committed More Than
$577 Million for Katrina Recovery

Support Didn't Harm Core Program Giving

NEW YORK, NY August 9, 2006. In response to last summer's Gulf Coast hurricanes, U.S. foundations have already committed more than $577 million for relief, recovery, and rebuilding, according to a report released today by the Foundation Center. Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation and Corporate Response documents the extent of foundation giving after the disasters, challenges concerns about "donor fatigue," and explores funders' perspectives on their role in responding to major disasters.

"Foundations and corporations responded quickly to the desperate situation in the Gulf Coast region," said Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center and the report's principal author, "and their support went far beyond immediate relief to encompass purposes ranging from economic redevelopment to the rebuilding of educational institutions."

The report documents actual commitments announced by the nation's corporations and foundations and results from a survey of the nation's largest independent, corporate, and community foundations. Key findings include:

  • Institutional donors — including corporations and private and public foundations — announced commitments through the start of June 2006 totaling $577.1 million for relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • The vast majority of foundation and corporate support targeted the immediate human services needs of disaster victims (59.4%). The balance of their designated commitments generally targeted longer-term priorities, led by housing development (7.3%), education and educational reform (6.6%), health and mental health services (3.2%), and economic and community development (2.2%).
  • Among surveyed independent, corporate, and community foundations, almost half (47.7%) provided some type of hurricane-related support.
  • Support for hurricane relief did not undercut giving in other areas — less than 16% of survey respondents reduced giving in other areas in 2005.
  • While 82% of respondents gave to immediate relief efforts, a substantial share, close to 22% of those surveyed, gave to long-term recovery efforts instead or in addition. Such long-term giving was focused primarily on housing and economic or job development.
  • Nearly three out of four funders who supported Gulf Coast hurricane relief had supported other disaster relief efforts in the past five years.
  • Most survey respondents fulfilled their Gulf Coast commitments within the first year following the disaster. Only 7% of surveyed foundations expected to make additional commitments beyond September 2006.

"Very few foundations include disaster funding in their grantmaking guidelines," said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center and the report's coauthor. "The fact that close to half of surveyed foundations chose to respond to the Gulf Coast disaster is truly exceptional. Yet foundations that chose not to give also had sound reasons, such as charters that limit their giving to specific geographic areas, a reluctance to reduce the funds available for their core mission and grantees, or a belief that it is the role of government and individuals to respond to these types of disasters."

To date, the Foundation Center's Gulf Coast Hurricanes Philanthropic Response project has been funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Starbucks Foundation, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and the Northrop Grumman Corporation. A final report will be released in August 2007.

The report can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.

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. More than 37,000 people visit its web site each day, and thousands more are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of more than 275 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit or call 212-620-4230.

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