Alabama Giving Wins National Grant to Build Philanthropy Statewide

Foundations and other funding organizations in Alabama recently got a boost in their efforts to build philanthropy statewide, thanks to a grant to the Alabama Giving Project from the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. Led by the Alabama Funders Forum, the Alabama Giving Project was one of seven recipients nationwide of a grant through the Forum's New Ventures in Philanthropy initiative.

The grant provides startup funding for efforts to encourage the creation of new foundations and corporate giving programs, increase new gifts to existing funding organizations and market the value and importance of philanthropy. The Alabama Giving Project plans to set up education programs, work with professional advisors, including accountants, lawyers and clergy, and reach out to individuals, families and corporations as potential donors.

"In these challenging economic times, promotion of philanthropy is more critical than ever in strengthening our communities. The importance of the Alabama Giving Project cannot be overstated," said Bart Morrison, Director of New Ventures in Philanthropy, adding that the project was chosen from a highly competitive pool of 28 applicants from 20 states and territories.

"Alabama is a very generous state in terms of individual giving to charity. But we rank near the bottom in terms of the number of foundations and other kinds of organized philanthropy," said Jera Stribling, project coordinator of Alabama Giving and executive director of the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation, a partner in the Alabama Funders Forum.

"We hope to educate the generous private and corporate donors in our state about the value of what we can do together to increase philanthropy and about the many benefits of philanthropy in terms of growth and the quality of life now and in the future," Stribling said. "We expect community leaders and professional advisors to be important partners in communicating this message and educating the public about the many opportunities of giving."

"Giving is good for our state, communities and individuals," added Bill Johnson, chairman of the Alabama Funders Forum and president of the Alabama Power Foundation. "We know that there is a great potential for growth in our state, and Alabama Giving is an important step in making this growth happen."

Other partners in Alabama Giving include The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Community Foundation of South Alabama, Central Alabama Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Southeast Alabama, Calhoun County Community Foundation, Alabama Child Caring Foundation, EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, Thompson Foundation, Holton Foundation and Ronne & Donald Hess Foundation.

For more information on current or planned giving and resources for individual and corporate donors as well as professional advisors, go to or call 205-313-4827.


Individual giving: Alabama consistently ranks among the top six states for individual giving to charities, based on the average charitable contribution per tax return as a percentage of the state's average income. (Source: Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics)

Foundation resources: In 2000, Alabama had 550 grantmaking foundations, with combined assets of $1.7 billion. Those figures represent 6 percent of the total number of foundations in the Southeast region (8,925) and 3 percent of total foundation assets for that area ($57 billion), which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. (Source: Southeastern Council of Foundations)

What is the Alabama Funders Forum?

For the past four years a growing number of public and private foundations throughout the state have been meeting to share information about philanthropy, discuss opportunities for collaboration and identify challenges and issues facing our organizations. In 2001, these foundations joined together formally as the Alabama Funders Forum and developed goals and a plan to increase philanthropy in our state.

What is the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers? This is the national framework for 28 regional associations of funders, including community, private and corporate foundations. Among these regional associations is the Southeastern Council of Foundations, which represents Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

What is New Ventures in Philanthropy?

Launched by the Forum of RAGs in 1998, New Ventures in Philanthropy promotes the creation of new foundations and corporate giving programs and encourages new donors to endow philanthropic funds whose income and/or principal will be used for grantmaking. Through its own grant program, New Ventures supports local and regional coalitions that are learning new ways to encourage individual and corporate philanthropy and offers technical assistance and information sharing. In four rounds of grantmaking, it has awarded more than $6 million to 35 coalitions.

For more information on the Forum or New Ventures, contact Danielle Hicks by phone at (202) 467-1131 or by e-mail at . Forum of RAGs website: ; Southeastern Council website:

SOURCE: Alabama Power Company

CONTACT: Elizabeth Dennis, +1-205-313-4827, or Jera Stribling,
+1-205-879-0799, both of Alabama Giving