New report: Our Region, Our Giving looks at full impact of recession

This month marks the 100th anniversary of organized philanthropy, and with the anniversary we find ourselves in a challenging period of modern philanthropy. With the final release of 2009 data, this year’s edition of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers’ Our Region, Our Giving takes a comprehensive look at how the economic crisis impacted philanthropy in our region. Total giving and assets dropped considerably – 8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively – but a closer look at the region’s leaders reveals a different narrative.

Despite major asset losses as high as 45 percent, about half of the top funders actually increased their giving, one by more than 47 percent. Even funders that reduced giving from the previous year did so sparingly considering their asset losses. WRAG’s president, Tamara Copeland, noted:

Considering the severity of the asset losses that many of the region’s funders sustained, their levels of giving are truly remarkable. They reveal the dedication and leadership that defines philanthropy in the Greater Washington region.

Also featured in this year’s report are lists of the top fifty locally-based nonprofits receiving support from the region’s funders in four issue areas. And, an initial look at giving and asset estimates for 2010 suggests that we might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

This year’s edition of Our Region, Our Giving was produced in partnership with the Foundation Center and made possible through generous support from Capital One.