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Seattle-area Charities Having a Hard Time Raising Money

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 23, 2003



SEATTLE -- Seattle-area charities are having a tougher time raising money than those in most other cities, according to a New Jersey organization that evaluates charities.

A study by Charity Navigator in Mahwah, N.J., showed that 35 Seattle charities on average spend 13 cents to raise every dollar - the worst ratio of any of the 21 markets reviewed.

In Dallas, charities spend 11 cents per dollar, and the national average was just 8 cents.

"Seattle's large charities face a tougher climate right now than charities in other parts of the country," said Kyle Waide, deputy director for Charity Navigator.

He cited the region's dour economy, including Boeing job cuts and the dot-com bust. Boeing employees are one of the area's traditional sources of charitable contributions; 21,000 of them have been cut in the Puget Sound region since the end of 2001.

The study also found that the revenues at Seattle's largest charities are growing far slower than their programs. Forty percent of the groups ran deficits in their most recent fiscal year, it said.

Seattle's charities ranked 17th with a median annual revenue growth of 4.95 percent, according to the study. The national median growth is 6.81 percent.

The study included organizations such as Northwest Environment Watch, the Museum of Flight Foundation, KCTS Television and the Seattle Opera. The study excluded private foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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