Public Policy Forum Blog

Charitable Giving Increases in Milwaukee

For the 11th annual Report Card on Charitable Giving, the Forum provides greater detail on contributions to Greater Milwaukee bellwether nonprofits over a longer period than in the past. Instead of looking at changes in six sectors from year to year, the printed report focuses on three sectors - education, health, and arts & culture - since 2001. We believe this comprehensive look offers donors and organizations more helpful information.

(The other three sectors - environment, funding organizations, and human services - still are covered, but in the Web version only, which can be accessed through the link above.)

Contributions to the 59 bellwethers in 2006 totaled $284.9 million, an increase of 8% over 2005. Since 1992, the first year of Forum data, total contributions increased 143%. Contributions grew by about $65 million since 2001.

Other key findings:
  • Corporate giving has been a major factor in the growth, increasing over 68% since 2001.
  • Individual giving has increased more than 27% since 2001.
  • Foundation contributions totaled $41.6 million in 2006, a slight decrease from 2005. Since 2001, foundation giving has decreased 18.7%.
  • The education sector had the largest one-year increase in total giving among all sectors,
    increasing $15.5 million, or 42.3%, to $52.1 million in 2006.
  • Contributions to bellwether organizations in the environment sector continue to decline. From 2005 to 2006, gifts were down almost 11%, to $1.4 million. Since 2001, contributions have fallen 65.5%.
  • Thirty-five of the 59 bellwether organizations saw an increase in contributions from 2005 to 2006. Since 2001, 37 organizations saw increases.

The 11th Annual Report Card on Charitable Giving is published by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, with sponsorships by Donors Forum of Wisconsin, The Faye McBeath Foundation, and United Way of Greater Milwaukee. Research for the report is completed by the Public Policy Forum.

Jeffrey Schmidt