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November 20, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Despite major changes, 2013 giving remained strong in the Greater Washington region

2013 was a time of change in this region’s philanthropic community. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended their philanthropic giving. The Freddie Mac Foundation began winding down its grantmaking in 2013, and disbursed their final grants this year. And looking ahead, two longtime local funders will soon be sunsetting their grantmaking .

But, our outlook is by no means bleak. In the latest edition of Our Region, Our Giving, we dig into data on giving, assets, funding practices, and trends in the sector that we collected from our member foundations and corporate giving programs earlier this year. The data tell a positive story about philanthropy in our region.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Total local giving in 2013 – that is, giving toward nonprofit organizations that primarily serve residents in the Greater Washington region – was $227,878,806. 60% of funders’ local giving increased over 2012.
  • Health and education were the most highly supported issue areas in 2013, totaling $112,265,052 in philanthropic investment.
  • 76% of funders reported providing general operating support, and 48% reported making multi-year grants, reflecting a dedication to flexible, long-term support so that grantees can work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • 74% of funders reported some kind of non-cash support to their grantees, proving that funders embrace the notion of going “beyond dollars” to impact our region.
  • Nearly 50% of funders anticipate being involved in some kind of collective impact initiative in the next year.
  • Grantmaking in our region will remain steady in 2015. 21% of funders reported that they plan to increase their giving; 72% plan to continue funding at their current level.

This community is responsive to new thinking about how its giving can best support the needs of our region.  For example, while funders have supported anti-hunger efforts for decades, they continue to do this while also thinking about other ways investing in food can benefit our region. For this reason, this edition features a special look at giving toward food and related issues in our region.

Food is a cross-cutting issue. Promoting access to healthy, nutritious food can impact individuals’ health and educational achievement. Supporting a healthy regional food system can improve the environment and strengthen community development efforts. More and more funders are making these connections. Between 2011 and 2013, giving toward food-related issues grew by 55% for a total of nearly $3.3 million in 2013.

While the funders in our community are incredibly diverse, targeting a variety of issues, employing different grantmaking strategies, and holding a vast range of resources dedicated to philanthropy, they are united in their common mission of improving the region and the lives of those who call it home. We hope this year’s edition of Our Region, Our Giving provides new insights into the priorities and practices of some of the most engaged and committed members of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and their  impact on our region.

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 senior program manager, Rebekah Seder.

Inquiries about food-related funding may be directed to Lindsay Smith, consultant, Washington Regional Food Funders.

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