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Featured Foundations  1 2
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Black Tie International: Featured Foundations
The Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy at
The USC School of Policy, Planning & Development


The Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy @ USC School of Policy, Planning & Development

Young Foundations Play a Significant Role in
Foundation Philanthropy in Los Angeles County
New Report From The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy Shows  More Than Two-Thirds of Region's Foundations Created in
Last Two Decades


Los Angeles, CA —The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development has just released its latest report on the state of foundation philanthropy in Los Angeles. This report, an update of the Center’s 2002 benchmark study, provides an important portrait of the scale of Los Angeles foundations and the scope and reach of foundation philanthropy to the region’s nonprofits in 2007 as well as a look at the changes that unfolded over the previous five years.  

“This 2007 study will become the benchmark for evaluating the impact of this severe recession on foundations and their philanthropy in Los Angeles,” says James M. Ferris, director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and the author of the study.  “It covers the scale and structure of Los Angeles foundations, and the scope and reach of foundation philanthropy to the region’s nonprofits.”

While the size and number of foundations in Los Angeles are substantial and growing, these foundations remain relatively youthful, according to the study.  During the period 2002-2007, the number of foundations in Los Angeles increased by 16 percent. Assets doubled and giving to the region’s non-profits increased almost two-thirds. 

In addition, foundations created in the last two decades account for more than two-thirds of the region’s foundations. The creation of new foundations that Los Angeles saw in the 1990s continues today. 

The report, Foundations for Los Angeles, 2007, raises important question about whether these young foundations will follow donor patterns in earlier decades, with the legacy of endowed foundations, or whether there is a new tendency in philanthropy for donors to give during their lifetimes. This has important implications for the pace of growth in the coming years and the future of philanthropy in
Los Angeles.  

Other research findings include:

  • The giving and assets of Los Angeles foundations are highly concentrated among a few foundations, not unlike foundations elsewhere; 

  • Foundation philanthropy is highly concentrated, both in terms of grant dollars and in terms of the nonprofit organizations receiving them;

  • Funding priorities are education, arts and culture, health, and human services; 

  • Los Angeles foundations account for the majority of foundation funding of the region’s nonprofits, with priorities given to the needs of the community;

  • Los Angeles foundations are committed to Los Angeles, but not exclusively focused on the region;  

  • The grantmaking patterns in terms of funding priorities have been fairly stable over the last five years; 

  • The reach of foundation philanthropy across communities is highly correlated with variations in the nonprofit infrastructure. 

“This report provides a comprehensive look at the foundation community in Los Angeles as of 2007, and the changes that have unfolded over the previous five years,” says Ferris, Emery Evans Olson Chair in Nonprofit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development. 

Support for the research and publication of the report was provided by The Ahmanson Foundation, California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation and Weingart Foundation. 

A resource for foundations, philanthropists, the nonprofit community and researchers, Foundations for Los Angeles, 2007 is available on The Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy Web site at  

About The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy:
The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy promotes more effective philanthropy and strengthens the nonprofit sector through research that informs philanthropic decision making and public policy to advance public problem solving.  For more information, please visit   or call (213) 740-9492.

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