Unpredictability Clouds 2012 Forecast
An erratic, volatile stock market and lagging economic recovery top the list of issues worrying Ohio funders as they look ahead to 2012, according to a survey we conducted in November with our members. It’s not a surprise that 40 percent of respondents cited general economic conditions as the most important issue they face, while another 28 percent said a lack of asset growth or income was most important. The great majority – 89 percent – of those we surveyed said economic conditions in Ohio are either moderately (51 percent) or severely (38 percent) impacting their grantees.
Not quite half – 40 percent – told us that they made grants or provided other assistance in direct response to government budget cuts, which have hit human services and education funding areas pretty significantly in the last year. Just over half of the respondents anticipate increasing funding for vulnerable populations next year. It’s clear that our members are continuing their efforts to help neighbors survive the tough economic reality here in Ohio, with unemployment still at 9 percent.
What is surprising is the response we got when we asked if they agreed with this statement: “As the public sector is increasingly unable to meet funding needs, foundations should help respond to the gaps.” The respondents split almost evenly in their responses, with a slightly larger number (51 percent) agreeing with the statement. Let me hasten to add that there was widespread recognition that private dollars by themselves cannot fill those gaps, however. We followed up with some of the survey respondents to glean more about their thoughts on this topic for an article that will appear in this month’s OGF Connection quarterly newsletter.
In the face of the slow economic recovery, funders cited a variety of ways they are responding to grantee and community needs: many are focusing on collaboration, working with other funders and encouraging/helping their grantees to partner or merge. You can learn more about the outlook for next year in the full report, available online.