BY Jane C. Simons, MiBiz (article excerpt below)
“The announcement last month that five of the most influential U.S. charitable foundations would be substantially increasing their giving levels was met with gratitude by philanthropic leaders in Southwest Michigan.
According to Heather Eddy, President and CEO of KEES, which offers a broad range of services to the nonprofit sector, the Ford Foundation’s step helped catalyze the philanthropic sector to take action.
‘When the Ford [Foundation] story came out, it created a greater awareness for the need to increase giving levels,’ Eddy said, noting that more than 760 foundations of all sizes have signed on and made a similar commitment in the ensuing period.
‘There’s a recognition from foundations that this is not business as usual,’ Eddy said. ‘While they may have given a grant for something specific, if that operating nonprofit can’t open its doors every day, that specific intent may get delayed. Funders want to see nonprofits continue and provide programs and services that they funded with that grant.’
From a strategic standpoint, ‘these foundations are realizing that if they made a two-year $100,000 commitment and the nonprofit closes, they’ve lost that $50,000,’ Eddy said. ‘If the nonprofit doesn’t exist, then all of their historical investments get wiped away.’“