Venture philanthropists extending reach

One of the hottest areas of charitable giving these days is "venture philanthropy," which adapts strategic investment techniques to the nonprofit world. Grantmakers usually provide management - as well as financial - assistance. They create active partnerships, and give grants over a long period of time.

Now, several years after the term first became a buzzword, Venture Philanthropy Partners and Community Wealth Ventures have surveyed 42 of the most visible "high-engagement grantmakers." Among their findings:

• Relationships are getting longer. This year, 67 percent of the organizations surveyed said their grants cover four to seven years, compared with just 22 percent last year.

• About one-third (13) of the organizations said they don't accept unsolicited funding proposals, but prefer to seek out qualified recipients themselves. Last year, the number was seven.

• The total capitalization of the 42 funds is just over $400 million. These groups made grants of about $50 million last year (compared with $27.6 billion in overall grants from foundations).

• Venture philanthropy began on the East and West coasts, but the funds surveyed are based in 18 states. California is home to the most (11), followed by New York (6) and Texas (4).

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