2009 presented new challenges to our Foundation and, more importantly, to the agencies working in our community, providing essential services to people in need.
Funding from our Foundation and others was significantly curtailed by the negative investment performance we all experienced in late 2008 and early 2009. This led us to focus more on operating and program maintenance grants, rather than capital and growth.
Likewise, most nonprofit agencies responded admirably by cutting budgets and postponing capital needs to continue essential programs.
As the year progressed and investment performance improved, we began to feel renewed confidence, but even so, our activity was significantly less in 2009 than in either of our prior 2 years. Total grants approved in 2009 were $8,551,800, with close to half of that being a pledge payable in 2010 for the completion of a new home for the SPCA of Texas, which is mentioned later in this report.
Looking back on our 2009 grants, I would like to highlight our continued focus on children at risk in our community. Approximately 25% of our grants were made to organizations that work in this area. We continue to encourage those who are seeking to prevent child abuse and neglect and to preserve healthy families. Organizations that come alongside first-time mothers and fathers to enhance parenting skills or provide shelter and services to families in crisis or promote physical and mental health and success in education were favored. It is rewarding to see the positive results that come from this work.
However, our society sometimes reacts too slowly to prevent the suffering of children who are exposed to injury, neglect, or family trauma. So we have felt an urgent call to lift up agencies engaged in the difficult work of defending these children, and we hope to encourage the many volunteers and dedicated staff who work in our hospitals, children’s advocacy centers, family shelters, and courtrooms speaking for the most vulnerable in our community.
As a foundation, we can think of no more important work for us to support than this. As years go by, our hope is that the need will diminish, but as long as it exists, we hope to stand with some of the most effective of these agencies as they pursue prevention of abuse and neglect, the growth and development of healthy families, and justice and healing for those who have suffered.
Thornton Hardie, President