Sunday, August 30, 2009

With fewer resources, groups opt to give less

The Buffalo News reported how the downturn has impacted local foundations. As the article relates:
Battered by more than $80 million in stock market losses last year, the John R. Oishei Foundation suspended new funding for medical research. The James H. Cummings Foundation, whose assets dropped by about 30 percent, probably will give away $500,000 less in 2009 than in previous years.

The Grigg-Lewis Foundation lost about $12 million and informed charitable organizations it wouldn't award any more grants this year.

"We tell them, 'Come back in January, and we'll take a look,'" said William May, executive director of the Griggs-Lewis Foundation, based in Lockport.

The stock market began turning around in the first half of 2009, but the impact of the 2008 free-fall will be felt in local philanthropic giving for years.

"This is not your daddy's downturn. This is an entirely new animal," noted Paul Hogan, vice president of the Oishei Foundation. "A third of the money has just disappeared. That doesn't come back in a normal cycle."

It took just four months in 2008 to wipe out almost a decade's worth of investment earnings at Western New York's largest private foundation. Oishei had $232.9 million in assets at the end of 2008 — down from $332.9 million at the close of 2007.

In addition to investment losses, overhead costs of $2.6 million and the payout of nearly $16 million in grants — the most in its history — further drained Oishei's net assets.

Other Western New York foundations were in the same boat.

"We will not have the income in 2010 that we had in 2009 or 2008. Nowhere near," said Robert Kresse, a trustee with the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, where assets fell from about $120 million to $80 million. "We're in a very tight squeeze."

The Wendt Foundation already has sizable grant commitments to pay out from previous years, pinching its ability to award new grants.

Grantmaking hasn't stopped, but foundation representatives said they would have to be more selective than ever. Some foundations acknowledged they're now less inclined to do multiyear grants. Read more here.

With decreased resources, funders will have to cut back on their giving. As these cutbacks impact the sector, nonprofits facing growing deficits and cash flow issues will clearly be facing critical issues. Some nonprofits will go out of business. What does this mean for the sector? How can nonprofits prepare or respond to these funding issues? Share your thoughts here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oishei gives $100K grant for jobs program

Business First of Buffalo reported that a new foundation grant will allow three local nonprofit organizations to create a collaborative jobs program.

The $100,000 two-year grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation to Goodwill Industries of Western New York supports the "Parks Careers Pathways Collaboration."

The program is a collaborative effort between Goodwill Industries, the Buffalo City Mission and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

The program is intended to offer training and career exploration opportunities at Olmsted Parks for individuals referred by the other two agencies. Individuals will come through Goodwill's Assessment and Evaluation Clinic and the Mission's long-term recovery programs. Read more here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nonprofit Media Coverage Update

The Minnesota Council on Foundations provided this roundup of media coverage on the world of nonprofit and philanthropy:

5 Tips on How to Stretch Your Charitable Dollars
(The New York Times) Here are some creative strategies from The Times on making your charitable dollar go the extra mile.

Concern Worldwide US Challenged by Gates to Test “Game-changing Ideas”
(OnPhilanthropy) With this week’s announcement that Concern Worldwide US had received a five-year, $41 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the international relief and development agency will embark on a groundbreaking initiative that hopes to identify and test “game-changing ideas” to improve essential health care delivery to mothers, infants and children in Africa and South Asia.

Corporate Collaborators: Siemens Showcases the Power of Non-Traditional Partnerships
(OnPhilanthropy) Take stock of these two statistics. First, according to a recent international study, American 15-year-olds ranked 21st in science compared to their peers in other nations. Second, the U.S. Labor Department predicts that by 2014 there will be more than 2 million job openings in science, technology and engineering, while the number of Americans graduating with degrees in those subject areas will continue to plummet.

Council on Foundations Launches Organization to Administer Standards for U.S. Community Foundations
(PND) The Council on Foundations has announced the launch of the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a new organization that will administer the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation process.

Mpls. Nonprofit Gets $3M in Stimulus Funds
(The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a Minneapolis nonprofit $3 million in stimulus funding to retrofit buses, trucks and other diesel vehicles with pollution-control equipment. The Minnesota Environmental Initiative (MEI) will use the dollars as part of its Project Green Fleet program.

Opinion: The Great Philanthropy Takeover
(The Wall Street Journal) David J. Sanders reflects on rural poverty, how little foundation money goes to address this and other rural issues, and how attendess at the recent conference on rural philanthropy by the national Council on Foundations is hoping to address the needs of rural America.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oishei grant lifts Meals on Wheels & Strengthens Community Collaborations

Oishei grant lifts Meals on Wheels
from Business First of Buffalo - by Tracey Drury

A Meals on Wheels for WNY commissary project received a $1.2 million boost from the John R. Oishei Foundation.

The funds, a program related investment, are dedicated toward helping to fund the new commissary adjacent to the Meals on Wheels facility on James E. Casey Drive in Buffalo. The site will become the new meal preparation and distribution site for the agency.

Meals on Wheels annually provides more than 865,000 home-delivered meals to frail elderly and special needs individuals. The agency currently has a lease for commissary services at Sodexho’s East Ferry facility.

Benjamin Gair III, Meals on Wheels CEO, said the $7.5 million commissary is on target to open early this fall. Another $2 million remains to be raised to fully fund the project.

A capital campaign continues, led by the Meals on Wheels Foundation and chairman Wayne Hawk, a board member at the foundation and retired CEO of Moog.

The new site will also provide services to disaster victims and first responders through a partnership with the American Red Cross Greater Buffalo Chapter, the Food Bank of WNY, Erie County Department of Emergency Services and the city of Buffalo.

Click here for the full article from Business First of Buffalo

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting started with the New York State Cultural Data Project

Dear Arts and Cultural Colleagues,

Since the June 1, 2009 launch of the New York State Cultural Data Project (New York State CDP), more than 400 organizations statewide have started using the CDP! This powerful management tool will, at no cost, allow arts managers and artistic leaders to understand and analyze their organization’s financial performance through easy-to-run reports. By participating in the New York State CDP, you will be part of a successful and growing project that will allow researchers and the arts community as a whole to better articulate and provide evidence for the sector’s assets and needs, as well as its contributions to the state and the country. By completing the online form annually, you will also be able to generate reports to be submitted to grantmakers with the click of a button.

Learn more about the New York State CDP at We hope you will join us for a demonstration and discussion and learn about how the CDP can provide valuable tools for your organization. Please review the schedule below and register for one of the upcoming sessions in your area.

Feel free to contact the New York State CDP Help Desk at or 1-888-NYSCDP-1 (1-888-697-2371).

Get the most from the New York State CDP.Attend a free demonstration and discussion.
In these 90-minute demonstration and discussion sessions we will give you an overview of the New York State CDP and everything you need to get started using it. Refreshments will be served.

August 17, 2009, Western New York
Buffalo August 17, 2:00 pm
Canisius Amherst Conference Center

August 18 - 21, 2009, Central New York & the Southern Tier
Ithaca August 18, 9:30 am
Holiday Inn Ithaca Downtown Hotel

Binghamton August 19, 9:30 am
Broome County Public Library

Utica August 20, 2:00 pm
Location to be announced

Syracuse August 21, 9:30 am
Le Moyne College,Coyne Center for the Performing Arts

Upcoming Demonstrations and Discussions
September 23, 2009
NYS ARTS Summit 2009, Schenectady
September 24 - 25, 2009
Mid-Hudson Region
October, 2009
New York City
November, 2009
Adirondack Region