While the global financial crisis depressed giving overall, foundations and corporations still contributed more in 2010 than in 2006 to nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest. In Alaska particularly, support from regional grantmakers remains strong. In this blog post, we look at some data shared by Philanthropy Northwest in their biannual report, Trends in Northwest Giving.

Recently Philanthropy Northwest released its biannual survey of foundation and corporate giving to nonprofits in the Northwest region (six States including Alaska). The data cover the years 2009 and 2010 and so are a little dated, but still very insightful. The report does not capture giving from individuals or donor-advised funds at community foundations.

Giving by organized philanthropy to Northwest organizations peaked in 2008 and declined 13.5% by 2010 (when excluding the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), in line with national economic conditions. However, overall giving was still still 20% higher in 2010 than in 2006 (when excluding the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and 6% higher with the Gates Foundation included.

Another useful set of benchmarks are grant dollars by subject area received by Northwest organizations versus organizations nationally. Our region is more likely to see support for education, human services and international  causes. Support for education alone received 30 percent of all grant dollars versus 23 percent nationally. Two thirds of grants to education overall were directed towards colleges and universities.

Importantly, 80% of all dollars to Northwest nonprofits came from Northwest foundations and corporations in 2010 which emphasizes the significance of regional philanthropy.

In Alaska, overall giving was just under $80 million, with some 1,194 grants made and a median grant size of $12,000. While impressive, this total represents a decrease of 17% from 2008 to 2010, largely due to a 64% decline in corporate giving and a 21% decline in contributions by community foundations. Private foundations increased their giving by 18% over the same period. The top level giving priorities in Alaska were public benefit (23%), education (20%), health (20%) and arts (10%). International giving was the smallest category of giving, receiving less than one percent of grants in the State.

The report provides a valuable resource for both grantmakers and grantees and food for thought as new funders are attracted to Alaska – four of the top 10 funders to Alaska in 2010 are headquartered outside the State. There is also some encouraging news for the nonprofit sector as 70% of Pacific Northwest foundations forecast that giving will remain stable or increase in 2012.

For more insights into who is giving where and for what purposes, download a copy of the report online. Rasmuson Foundation is a sponsor of the Trends in Northwest Giving research and an active member of Philanthropy Northwest.