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Report Examines Philanthropy in Los Angeles

James M. Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Los Angeles area philanthropic foundations have experienced significant growth in assets and giving, but the community has not kept pace with its state and national counterparts, according to a new study released today by the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

“Foundations for L.A.?: An Analysis of Scale, Scope and Reach of Foundation Philanthropy in L.A. County” examines the size and growth of Los Angeles area foundations and provides an analysis of the flow of grant dollars to the 123 communities that make up Los Angeles County.

“This report provides the first systematic analysis of Los Angeles foundations and the impact of foundation philanthropy on Los Angeles,” said James M. Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy. “But even more importantly, it highlights opportunities for increasing the potential of philanthropy as a source of venture capital for Los Angeles communities.”

Key findings of the report include:

Scale and Growth:

� Los Angeles area foundations have grown significantly. In 2002, there were 2,077 foundations in Los Angeles County with assets totaling $25.8 billion and grants totaling $1.2 billion. This represents a two-thirds increase in the number of foundations, a doubling of assets and a growth in gifts of more than 250 percent since 1992. But this growth did not keep pace with statewide and national trends.

� As of 2002, Los Angeles foundations represented 35 percent of the state’s 5,929 foundations, 43 percent of the $60.2 billion in assets and 32 percent of the $3.6 billion in total gifts. However, since the growth of Los Angeles foundations trails others in the state, the share of assets and giving has declined.

The Scope of Grantmaking:

� The assets and gifts of Los Angeles foundations account for a substantial majority of foundation giving. In 2002, there were 11 foundations with assets of $250 million or more which accounted for 64 percent of the assets and 37 percent of the total giving.

� Los Angeles foundations account for 44 percent of the grant dollars received by nonprofit organizations in the city.

� Los Angeles is a net exporter of philanthropic dollars. The 48 Los Angeles foundations in the sample made grants totaling $667 million, 57 percent of the total giving of all Los Angeles foundations. Forty-one percent of these grant dollars went to local nonprofits, but 31 percent went to nonprofits in other parts of California, and the remaining 27 percent went to nonprofits outside of the state.

The Reach of Grantmaking:

� The reach of foundation philanthropy in Los Angeles County is highly varied. The grant dollars received by nonprofits in a specific community ranges from zero to $93.8 million, with a mean of $3.5 million and a median of $391,219.

� Twenty-one of the 123 communities received no grants from the specific foundations in the sample of grants.

� A significant amount of foundation philanthropy is concentrated in communities where larger nonprofit organizations such as universities and colleges, cultural institutions, and research and teaching hospitals are located. The beneficiaries of this philanthropy are not restricted to the neighborhoods where the organizations are located.

� Mapping of grant dollars from smaller grants ($50,000 and less) and human service grant dollars per capita reveals somewhat less variation among the communities. This suggests some targeting of philanthropy to the communities with greater needs, but the variation remains considerable.

� The number of nonprofits in a community is the strongest determinant of the grant dollars a community receives.

Report Examines Philanthropy in Los Angeles

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