Tuesday, September 9

Why the collapse of Freddie and Fannie scares fundraisers

A lot of people are being hurt by the collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. As a fundraiser, I can't help but focus on the philanthropic implications. During a press conference describing the takeover, the government said it "will review the charitable activities."

That doesn't sound like good news...

Cuts in giving to the groups Freddie and Fannie supported will have major ripple effects. Let's consider this description from the Washington Post:

By its account, Freddie Mac, along with its foundation, has invested more than $348 million in the community to date. Last year its annual Hoops for the Homeless campaign, a celebrity-studded basketball tournament to fight family homelessness, raised $900,000 for six local nonprofits that included Hannah House and So Others Might Eat.

Last year Fannie Mae dissolved its foundation -- an organization that has put more than $1 billion into education, affordable housing, education and economic development programs since 1979. The company said its philanthropic activities would be handled in-house, and it continued to give to local organization and initiatives. Among its 2007 programs, the company pledged $10 million to improve infrastructure in D.C. schools and $1 million in grants to help revitalize D.C. neighborhoods. Its annual Help the Homeless walkathon raised more than $7 million last year to support 175 local homeless service providers, such as Reston Interfaith, last year."

Some of you may remember that the embattled mortgage giants came under fire this past summer for making sizeable contributions to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference.

According to the conference program, obtained by an NLPC staff member who attended the event, Freddie Mac, as a “Platinum Sponsor,” paid $150,000. Fannie Mae paid $100,000 to be listed as a “Diamond Sponsor.”
Combined these guys also gave almost $2 million in contributions to politicians during the 2006 election cycle.

I mean... Freddie Mac was recognized by the Washington Business Journal and Greater D.C. Cares as the top corporate philanthropist in the Washington region.

Do you understand how big this is?

A fellow fundraiser once told me that the only news worse than hearing that a major donor has been indicted is that a major donor has declared bankruptcy. Trust me. I have experience with this one... it's not always easy making a bankrupt corporate donor make good on a charitable pledge.


Anonymous said...

As the Director of Development at a DC nonprofit that had heard from Freddie months ago that we are getting one final grant, I've been trying to find out what this will mean for local giving--and Don't Tell is the first place I've seen this discussed at all, though it's still conjecture. I went to the Freddie Mac Foundation website and you'd think it was business as usual. Any updates people have will be much appreciated.

"a fundraiser" said...

Sure. It's conjecture, but hearing them say that they "will review the charitable activities" is not a good thing.