Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rural areas receive small percentage of grants from major foundations, USDA study finds

County-level data shows that rural-based organizations receive a small percentage of foundation grants and are awarded less than urban-based organizations, says a report by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The study, which used 2005-2010 data from the nation's largest foundations, found that rural-based organizations accounted for 5.5 percent of grants. Adding urban organizations that support rural areas increased the amount to between 6.2 and 7.5 percent. Rural areas had 19 percent of the U.S. population in 2000, 16 percent in 2010.

The study also found that the "average real value of grants from large foundations to organizations based in non-metro counties from 2005 to 2010 was about $88 per capita (in 2010 dollars), less than half the average given to organizations in metro counties." Researchers "found that differences in educational attainment and in the capacity of local nonprofit organizations account for a substantial share of the variation across counties in grants per capita."

The report found that "rural grants are more likely to go to education, environmental protection and recreation than urban grants," Tim Marema reports for the Daily Yonder. "Conversely, rural organizations are less likely than urban ones to receive grants to support arts and cultural activities; philanthropy and volunteerism; and medical research."

Researchers said that "part of the difference in both the size and type of grants awarded to rural projects has to do with local capacity," Marema writes. Researchers "found that counties that had organizations like universities with higher fundraising ability tended to raise more money from private foundations. And counties with more nonprofit infrastructure tended to receive more philanthropic dollars." (USDA map)

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