Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comprehensive Analysis of Georgia Nonprofit Sector Released

Collaboration between Georgia State University and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University has resulted in the most comprehensive analysis ever made of Georgia’s nonprofit sector and the giving patterns of Georgians.

Funded by grants from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, and coordinated by Atlanta fund raising firm Alexander Haas, these two studies – Georgia Gives and Nonprofit Georgia – examined giving patterns throughout the state, as well as comparative analysis of giving in Atlanta and other urban, suburban and rural areas of the state.

“Georgians have always been generous, and these two studies provide evidence that the tradition continues today,” said David H. King, president of Alexander Haas. “Individuals in Georgia gave an estimated $5.58 billion in 2007 to meet vital needs and improve the quality of life in our communities and rural areas throughout the state and gave more than the national averages” he said.

Among the key findings of Georgia Gives:

Georgia’s total charitable giving by individuals, foundations and corporations in 2007 is estimated to be more than $6.7 billion. Individual donors statewide ($2,381) and in Atlanta ($2,492) gave more on average than donors nationally ($2,247) in 2007
60 percent of household donations in 2007 came from the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes 54 percent of the state’s population.
86 percent of Atlantans reported making gifts to charity in 2007, compared with 70.2 percent nationally and 68 percent in the rest of the state
55.5 percent of household donations in 2007 went to religious organizations, which is slightly lower than the national level of 61 percent.

The next largest share of Georgia household contributions (14 percent) was given to public-society benefit organizations such as United Way, compared to 10 percent of contributions nationally.

In 2007, corporate giving in Georgia is was estimated at $503 million.

“This report shows that individuals, foundations and corporations all play a critical role in supporting Georgia’s thriving nonprofit sector,” said Patrick M. Rooney, interim executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “Georgia’s more than 1,400 independent, operating and community foundations gave an estimated total of $615.8 million to charity in 2006,” he added.

Among the key findings of Nonprofit Georgia:

Georgia’s Public Charities
7,119 public charities in Georgia filed with the IRS in 2005. Total revenues in these charities amounted to $24.7 billion, up 36% in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2000.

Fulton and DeKalb counties had a combined 2,429 charities.

There were 12 counties with no reporting charities, and over one-third of all Georgia counties had fewer than five.

The “urban-rural” divide in nonprofit resources is different than the “haves and have not” divide primarily because the lowest poverty rates in the state are in suburban counties. The 40 counties in Georgia with the highest poverty rates had an average $460 in public support per capita, while the 40 counties with the lowest poverty rates had $127. Similarly, the 40 counties with the highest poverty rates had an average $357 in government grants per capita, while the 40 with the lowest poverty rates had $41.

On various, commonly accepted measures of financial health, public charities in rural counties appeared to be somewhat healthier than those in urban counties. This suggests that although there are fewer nonprofit organizations and revenues in rural areas, the nonprofits that are operating there are sound, and are relatively good risks for philanthropic investment.

Georgia’s Foundation Grant-Making

Georgia foundations are largely clustered around core urban areas in the state. While Fulton and DeKalb counties combined had 722, or 46%, of Georgia’s foundations in 2005, 53 of Georgia’s 159 counties—most of them rural—had no foundations.

The majority (more than 70 percent) of grant dollars from Georgia-based foundations remain in the state of Georgia.

Georgia foundations tend to give to the communities closest to their headquarters. The majority of grant dollars that go to rural counties originate in rural counties and the majority of grant dollars that go to urban counties originate in urban counties.

According to Dennis R. Young, Bernard B. and Eugenia A. Ramsey Professor of Private Enterprise, and Director of the Nonprofit Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University: “Georgia’s nonprofit sector has a powerful potential to transform the social and economic landscape of Georgia, but little is known about the capacity of the sector and the nature of its impact. Our Nonprofit Georgia study is intended to contribute to that understanding.”

Complete information on the Georgia Gives study can be accessed on the web at and more information on The Center on Philanthropy at

Nonprofit Georgia study information can be accessed on the website of the Nonprofit Studies Program of Georgia State University at

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