In October, MCF released Giving in Minnesota, 2013 Edition, the latest comprehensive analysis of the trends in giving by organized philanthropy in the Minnesota. Each month, I’ll be posting here to delve more deeply into the full report. This month is Grantmaking by Subject Area.
Giving in Minnesota, 2013 Edition, reports on grantmaking data from 2011, the latest year for which complete data are available. It is based on the coding of a sample of over 27,000 grants of $2,000 or more made by 100 of the largest grantmakers in the state.
As in previous years, Education leads, capturing 28% of the grant dollars coded. Except in three years – 2001, 2005, and 2008 – this has been the case since MCF began this research. Human Services followed with 21% of the grant dollars, and Public Affairs/Society Benefit was third with 17%.
Human Services includes grants for housing, youth development, disaster preparedness and relief, food and nutrition, employment, and human services areas. The Public Affairs/Society Benefit subject area covers grants to nonprofits involved in general civic, community and societal improvement projects, as well as philanthropy/volunteerism including community foundations and federated funds like United Ways.
Over time, the share of grant dollars each subject area receives has remained fairly stable. Human Services led the giving by subject area in those three years that Education came in second. Each of those years was marked by crisis – 9/11, post-tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession – where grantmakers stepped up to support people in need.
There are some long-term differences in giving by subject area by Minnesota grantmakers compared to national foundation trends. The most significant one is the relative difference in shares of grant dollars to Health and Human Services. Minnesota grantmakers give a larger share to Human Services (21%) than the national trend (14%), and a smaller share to Health (10% vs. 28%). One of the reasons for this is that the major funders of Health are not located in Minnesota.
Care should be taken when making comparisons between national and Minnesota grantmaking trends. The data are different in several ways, including: different baseline sampling (MCF codes grants of $2,000 or more while the national sample is made of grants of $10,000 or more), inclusion or exclusion of corporate giving programs, and coverage of slightly different time frames.
Look for future posts digging into several of these subject areas, with Education up first.
-Anne Graham, MCF research associate