NASAA Notes: April 2009

April
2009

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April 9, 2009

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Foundations Expect Reductions in Arts Funding

Nonprofit organizations are bracing themselves for future reductions in foundation support. The Council on Foundations estimates that foundations experienced a 28% decline in assets over the course of 2008. This loss, which has occurred much more rapidly than in prior recessions, will put the squeeze on private sector grant making in the years ahead. Most foundations use rolling multiyear averages to formulate their annual grant-making budgets. This means that portfolio losses caused by market woes in late 2008 and early 2009 will have their greatest impact on giving in 2010 and beyond.

What does this mean for arts grant making? To explore that question, Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), an association of more than 300 arts grant makers, conducted a survey of its members’ expectations for arts giving in 2009. Based on the survey results, GIA reports that 41% of respondents expect their 2009 arts grant-making outlays to stay roughly the same as last year. Among those grant makers anticipating a decline, most predict decreases in the 10-30% range. Respondent comments also confirm that most private arts grant makers expect even bigger cuts heading into 2010.

The GIA poll invited foundations to describe ways in which they are trying to assist grantees during the economic downturn. Popular tactics included:

  • Providing technical assistance and training to help grantees assess their fiscal options,
  • Creating emergency funding pools,
  • Encouraging collaborations and mergers,
  • Increasing the flexibility of grants,
  • Increasing communications with current grantees, and
  • Facilitating convenings.

For More Information:
Council on Foundations. “Asset Declines and Investment Strategy Changes by Family, Independent, and Public Foundations,” March 2009.

Grantmakers in the Arts. “GIA Members Responses to Economic Downturn Survey,” February 2009.

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