March 30, 2010; The Bulletin | It’s no revelation that the bulk of individual donations in this country go to churches and religious organizations. But this research, done by sociologists D. Michael Lindsay and Robert Wuthnow, and published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, suggests that charitable foundations may end up having a disproportionate influence on the future of religion despite the fact that they only contribute about 5% of what religious groups take in. The researchers cited the Lilly Endowment as a major player, awarding over the four years studied “1,473 grants totaling more than $677 million.” The article says that these private institutions are more influential than their dollars would suggest “because of their institutional independence, financial resources, and unique ability to redirect energies within an institutional field.”—Ruth McCambridge
About The Author
Ruth is Editor in Chief of the Nonprofit Quarterly. Her background includes forty-five years of experience in nonprofits, primarily in organizations that mix grassroots community work with policy change. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Ruth spent a decade at the Boston Foundation, developing and implementing capacity building programs and advocating for grantmaking attention to constituent involvement.