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Philanthropy Group Says Foundations Plan To Boost Grantmaking As Assets Recover

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, the Space Needle, right, is seen across the street from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center in Seattle.

The stock market has bounced back from the recession, and philanthropy is climbing along with it. That’s the message from Philanthropy Northwest, a group that tracks grantmaking to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest. 

"The trend here in Washington, the trend in the Pacific Northwest and the trend nationally are all aligned. Everybody’s feeling very positive," said Jeff Clarke, chief executive of Philanthropy Northwest, a member organization of foundations, corporations and individuals who make charitable grants. "I would say it’s probably the most positive sentiment that I’ve heard since pre-2008."

Clarke says his group recently surveyed leaders of foundations in the Northwest and found that 85 percent of them say they plan to boost grantmaking this year by a median amount of 10 percent.

Philanthropy Northwest also just released its latest trends report with data from the year 2012. Overall, giving in the Northwest has declined by 2 percent, but Washington bucked the trend with a 12 percent jump.

“Our funders such as Microsoft and Boeing and Alaska Airlines and Safeco actually shored up their support for the nonprofit sector, so I think a lot of that increase is driven by the corporate sector," said Kristen Holway, senior manager for Philanthropy Northwest. "It’s also driven by several large funders that we benefit from having in our state.”

Those large funders include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which gives about $200 million a year to nonprofits in Washington, as well as the Norcliffe Foundation. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.