Johnson Center for Philanthropy releases annual Kent County Giving Report

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Donors in Kent County gave an estimated $624.7 million to charity and philanthropic groups in 2011, a new report from Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center for Philanthropy shows.

The total donation amount represents an increase of almost $10 million from the Johnson Center’s estimate of total giving in 2010, for a 2011 total of $624,714,866. Individuals gave 57.5 percent ($359.2 million) of the donations, foundations contributed 29.5 percent ($184.3 million), corporations contributed 7.2 percent ($44.6 million), and bequests made up 5.8 percent ($36.4 million). The report tracks data for the last year that complete data is available. 

“Our report shows the incredibly giving spirit of the families and foundations of Kent County, and demonstrates the commitment that local corporations have to being good citizens in our communities,” said Michael Moody, Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Johnson Center. “The report shows that despite external economic factors, giving continues to increase.”

Even though giving increased almost $10 million from 2010 to 2011, the increase was much smaller than from 2009 to 2010, when giving increased by nearly $50 million. Giving from foundations increased by 0.8 percent from 2010 to 2011, a decline from a 14 percent year-to-year increase from 2009 to 2010. Both Kent County and national increases were lower in 2010-2011 than in the previous year. 

Between 2009 and 2010, total giving in Kent County increased at a higher rate (8.7%) than the national rate (6.4%), but from 2010-2011, Kent County giving increased less (1.6%) than giving across the nation (4.2%).

The percentage of total estimated charitable giving coming from foundations in Kent County is more than double the percentage from foundations across the U.S., and the percentage coming from individuals is lower in Kent County than in the U.S. overall. A large portion of total foundation giving in Kent County comes from several large foundations located here. For example, the 2011 annual giving by four foundations created by the DeVos family accounted for 41.8 percent of Kent County’s total foundation giving.

The percentage of estimated giving coming from corporations and foundations is also higher in Kent County (36.7%) than across the nation (19.7%). The concentration of large family-owned businesses in Kent County may be one factor that contributes to this pattern.

A full copy of the report is available online at johnsoncenter.org.