Giving in the Greater Washington region increased more than 9%

Philanthropic giving in the Greater Washington region increased more than twice as much as the rest of the country in 2012. While new challenges continue to present themselves, the local funding community seems to have reached a point of stability and growth after years of recession-related uncertainty.

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) is excited to report this and much more in the newest edition of Our Region, Our Giving:

1.) Giving increased more than 9 percent over the previous year, from $255.4 million in 2011 to $279 million last year. By comparison, the Foundation Center estimated only a 3.9 percent increase in total giving in the United States.

2.) 64.5% of survey respondents offer general operating support. This marks a shift from traditional project support and reveals a growing mentality that nonprofits need to be ready to respond quickly to unplanned opportunities and unexpected challenges.

3.) Education and health were the most highly supported issue areas in 2012, followed by affordable housing.

4.) Next year, nearly a quarter of respondents plan to increase their giving. Seventy-three percent plan to fund at their current levels. And less than five percent of respondents anticipate a decrease. This suggests continued modest growth and, more importantly, continued stability.

This year, we took a new approach by focusing the report on the WRAG membership. We took this approach for two reasons: timeliness and context. IRS data are at least two years old when they become available – and they don’t tell the real story. By surveying our members directly, we are able to share not just their most recent grantmaking information, but also the thinking behind their giving.

In total, this community represents a highly diverse range of priorities, resources, experiences, and strategies, and it is reflective of the core of significant, ongoing institutional giving in the Greater Washington region.

In addition to a broad look at local giving, we have also added a new component of the report that examines a discrete funding issue. This year’s issue is affordable housing. Why? Affordable housing is an issue that affects everyone in the social sector in a significant way. It connects to health, education, equity, employment, family life, and so much more.

The impact of philanthropy in frequently unsung. With Our Region, Our Giving, we offer a comprehensive look at how large a role philanthropy plays in the Greater Washington region. We hope that you find it useful and inspiring, and we hope that it leads you to consider new ideas about the scope and impact our region’s social sector.

The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) is a network of funders dedicated to promoting increased, effective, and responsible philanthropy in the Greater Washington region.

Inquiries about Our Region, Our Giving may be directed to WRAG’s communications director, Christian Clansky.

Inquiries about affordable housing funding may be directed to WRAG’s vice president, Gretchen Greiner-Lott.