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Private Foundations Kept Up Giving Despite Drop in Assets

Download the 2010 OC PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS List (pdf)

Giving by Orange County’s individual and family foundations held flat last year, while foundation assets declined 18% to $1.9 billion.

The county’s 35 largest private foundations on our list, ranked by recent contributions, granted about $140 million in 2009, according to the Business Journal’s list of individual and family foundations.

Our list ranks foundations according to recent available contribution data, so not every foundation had numbers available for the entirety of last year.

Seventeen of the foundations increased their giving, while 18 dropped their contributions.

As the economy continues on a path of sluggish recovery, foundations will be pressed even more for giving in the next few years.

“The impact is widening out,” said Shelley Hoss, president of the Newport Beach-based Orange County Community Foundation, a nonprofit that manages donor-advised funds. “It’s continuing to put very high pressure on demand for services from the nonprofit sector.”

Outpacing the Nation

OC’s grant makers steady giving outpaced the nation, which saw a decline in giving.

Nationally, individual and family foundations gave $31 billion in 2009, a 9% decrease from 2008, according to the New York-based Foundation Center.

A few of the foundations that significantly increased their giving were founded by some of OC’s wealthiest: No. 4 Costa Mesa-based Argyros Foundation boosted giving 35% to $10 million for the year ended in July 2009; No. 5 Aliso Viejo-based Henry T. Nicholas III Foundation increased giving 156% to $7 million for the year ended in 2008; No. 8 Newport Beach-based Donald Bren Foundation gave $3 million for the year ended November 2009, compared to $10,000 a year earlier.

Real estate developer and investor George Argyros’ foundation’s recent contributions include $3.3 million to the Eisenhower Medical Center Foundation in Rancho Mirage; a $1 million donation to City of Hope, a cancer patient care and research center in Duarte; $1 million to South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa; $621,000 to Chapman University in Orange; and $57,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association’s OC chapter.

Irvine Company chairman Donald Bren supports education, conservation and research.

Recent contributions from his foundation include $2.3 million to the University of California, Irvine Foundation and $200,000 to the Public Policy Institute of California, a think tank.

The foundation of Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. Cofounder and former chief executive Henry Nicholas funds a variety of causes, including the Nicholas Academic Center, which tutors and mentors at-risk high school students in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

The list is carried by two foundations, which together gave more than half—$71.5 million—of the list’s total contributions.

No. 1 Laguna Beach-based Marisla Foun-dation, founded by Anne Getty Earhart, heiress of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, gave $43 million for 2009, an 11% decrease, and No. 2 Irvine-based Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation gave $29 million for the year ended in August 2009, a 2% increase.

Marisla supports many environmental causes.

Some of its contributions within the past two years include $2.4 million to Oceana, an ocean conservancy group; $1 million to Laguna Beach-based MacGillivray Free-man Films Educational Foundation for the documentary, “To the Arctic,” out next year; and $1 million for Center for American Progress, a Wash-ington D.C.-based think tank.

Marisla has $450 million in assets, a 20% decrease.

The foundation of the late Arnold Beck-man, founder of Brea-based Beckman Coul-ter, funds a slew of research institutions. Its assets declined 19% to $451 million.

A couple of Beckman foundation donations for the year ended August 2009 were nearly $10 million to the City of Hope in Duarte, where there is a Beckman Research Institute, and nearly $3 million to the California Institute of Technology.

Private foundations make up the bulk of foundation giving.

The two other giving entities are corporate foundations/giving programs and community foundations. Locally, Newport Beach-based Orange County Community Founda-tion is the county’s largest community foundation.

Private foundations aren’t limited to the types of programs they can contribute to, but they are required by law to give at least 5% of their assets annually.

Some of the foundations don’t fund through an endowment, rather they make grants as they go.

Most of the foundations on the Business Journal list are grant-making founda-

tions, meaning they make grants to charities that go through a proposal submission process.

Own Programs

Other foundations use their income to run their own charitable programs.

No. 9 Irvine-based Tiger Woods Foun-dation, founded by Tiger Woods, does both.

In addition to making grants, the foundation also funds and operates the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a 35,000-square-foot educational center for kids in Anaheim.

The Tiger Woods foundation cut back its giving 18% to $2.2 million for the year ended September 2008.

No. 6 Corona del Mar-based Samueli Foundation boosted its giving 19% to $6 million for 2009.

Founded by Broadcom cofounder Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan, the founda-

tion gives to educational programs, espe-cially those that emphasize math and science. It funds the Henry Samueli engineering schools at University of California, Irvine, and University of California, Los Angeles.

Foundations that decreased giving in-cluded: No. 13 Irvine-based Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, which gave 29% less; No. 12 Dana Point-based Swenson Family Foundation, which cut back 37% to $1.9 million and No. 20 Irvine-based Croul Family Foundation, which decreased its donations 68% to $1.1 million.

Download the 2010 OC PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS List (pdf)

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