NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Charitable Giving Follows Fortunes West

February 8, 2001

Charities in western states are receiving gifts of hundreds of millions of dollars, often donated by newly-wealthy high-tech entrepreneurs.

  • Eight of the 10 states where the assets of charities increased at the fastest rate during the past decade are in the West, based on a USA Today analysis of Foundation Center data.
  • From 1988 to 1998, Idaho realized the biggest increase in charitable assets -- a whopping 2,751 percent jump.
  • Idaho's dramatic rise was largely due to the Boise-based J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation -- endowed by profits from the Albertson grocery chain -- which handed out more than $100 million in grants in the past three years.
  • But since 1998, Washington state may have trumped Idaho, due to the establishment of the Microsoft-fueled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- which became the nation's biggest charitable foundation in 1999.

The Gates Foundation has elbowed aside such old-line Eastern foundations as the Rockefeller, Pew and Mellon organizations.

Even with the fall in tech stock portfolios, established western foundations based on technology fortunes, such as the $10 billion Packard fund, are worth more than many old eastern foundations.

Source: Jim Hopkins, "Increase in Wealth Helps Charitable Giving Rise in West," USA Today, February 8, 2001.


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