James.qxp Sept Oct 2018 web (2) - Page 33

of Georgia employing tens of thousands of people.
A second major player that often goes unnoticed
in Georgia’s economic health involves public and private foundations. The top 10 private foundations
(dened as charitable foundations established by private citizens) awarded more than $200 million in
grants last year. Conversely, the top three public foundations in the state (dened as corporate-sponsored
or other publicly-funded entities) include Coca-Cola,
Home Depot and UPS. The big three also awarded
more than $190 million in grants in 2016 alone, the
most recent year for which data is available.
Altogether, the top 10 public and private foundations in Georgia awarded more than $528 million to
non-prot organizations. A slightly broader look
shows that the top 40 foundations awarded more
than $828 million across Georgia last year alone.
The Peach State’s non-prot industry provides
thousands of fulltime jobs that often include excellent
benets, matching or exceeding their for-prot counterparts. These employers value hard work, continuing
education, and community engagement by their staff.
The non-prot organizations support their local com-
munities through educational institutions, health and
human service providers, and individual support.
One shining example is TechBridge, which teaches
computer skills to young women and men, then
assists them in nding jobs in the corporate sector at
competitive wages. It’s a perfect match to improve
the economic lives of individuals who may have been
stuck in a cycle of generational poverty, while assisting the quality of operations of their employers.
While for-prot businesses are the primary economic engine for the state, non-prots add a margin
of excellence that makes Georgia a better place to live.
When a Fortune 500 company looks at a location for
a regional hub, their national or international headquarters, one of the characteristics they consider is
the quality of life. The competitive advantage
between Georgia and other states for new business is
often determined by the health of a community, and
much of that is inuenced by the non-prot sector.
Wes Wicker is a Principal and Partner of Columns Fundraising
Consultants, LLC, an Atlanta-based full service fundraising consulting
firm. For additional information on philanthropic giving, contact:
wes@columnsfundraising.com or www.columnsfundraising.com.


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