Monday, October 13, 2008

Grant Makers Urged to Respond to Financial Crisis

Yesterday's Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the Council on Foundations, an association of the country’s largest grant makers, is urging its 2,000 members and other foundations to support charities that are struggling due to the downturn in the economy and to assist cities where the financial crisis has sapped philanthropic resources.

In an “open letter” to foundations, Council president, Steve Gunderson, and chairman of the board, Ralph Smith, wrote that philanthropy can not ignore the current credit crunch and other problems hitting America and the world.  The Chronicle story continues:

While today’s economic stress was unexpected, “there is no avoiding the question: what could it mean for philanthropy to step up in these circumstances? How can we play a constructive role without raising unrealistic expectations?” they write.

First, they suggest assisting cash-strapped nonprofit groups. “Our nonprofit partners will bear the brunt of shrinking resources and growing need. Within parameters defined by our respective missions, resources and work, we should actively look for creative ways to assist the sector in weathering this storm and serving those most impacted.”

In addition, they said philanthropies could bring together state and local government officials, business leaders, and others to discuss what needs to be done to bolster the economy in their region and aid places facing a decline in grant making.


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