Philanthropies count fewer blessings

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By Roger Snodgrass

New Mexico foundations, like individuals and businesses in the state, have been hit hard by the economic downturn. That in turn means trouble for the non-profits that fill some of the gaps in the social fabric.


“Among our members, portfolios have fallen between 20 percent and more than 50 percent,” said Terry Odendahl, president of the New Mexico Association of Grant Makers, this morning. “Most are planning to diminish their funding by an equivalent amount.”


In general foundations are required to pay at least 5 percent of the average market value of their total assets.


“It’s called ‘pay-out,’ and many stick with that,” said Odendahl. “I’m encouraging them in bad times to be paying out more.”


Hard-hit non-profits are also being encouraged to take a closer look at their own expenses, and consider new belt-tightening measures, including merging or sharing functions.


On an optimistic note, Odendahl said, “During the Depression, individual giving increased. I’m hoping that we see that again.”


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