Philanthropy Report

Center Releases L.A. Philanthropy Report

By Tracy Mendoza

James Ferris Professor James M. Ferris
Photo by Philip Channing

The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development recently released a report on the state of foundation philanthropy in Los Angeles.

The report – Foundations for Los Angeles 2007, an update of the center’s 2002 study – provides a look at the changes that unfolded over the previous five years.

“This study will become the benchmark for evaluating the impact of this severe recession on foundations and their philanthropy in Los Angeles,” said James M. Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and the author of the study. “It covers the scale and structure of Los Angeles foundations, and the scope and reach of foundation philanthropy to the region’s nonprofits.”

During the period 2002-07, the number of foundations in Los Angeles increased by 16 percent. Assets doubled and giving to the region’s nonprofits increased almost by a two-thirds margin.

The report, “Foundations for Los Angeles 2007,” raises a question about whether these foundations will follow donor patterns from earlier decades, which has implications for the future of philanthropy in Los Angeles.

“This report provides a comprehensive look at the foundation community in Los Angeles as of 2007 and the changes that have unfolded over the previous five years,” said Ferris, who holds the Emery Evans Olson Chair in Nonprofit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

Support for the research and publication of the report was provided by the Ahmanson Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation and the Weingart Foundation.

A resource for foundations, philanthropists, the nonprofit community and researchers, Foundations for Los Angeles 2007 is available on The Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy Web site at