Foundation Says Philanthropy in Atlanta Is Back

Jan 6, 2014

Rob Smulian is Vice President of Philanthropic Services for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Credit Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, one of the area’s largest local charities, closed out 2013 in a big way by receiving an individual donation of just over $100 million.

The contribution capped off a year the Foundation believes signals a return to more philanthropy.

That anonymous donor’s gift accounts for more than half of last year’s donations to the Foundation. Even without that, according to Rob Smulian, Vice President of Philanthropic Services, 2013 will turn out to be one of the best financially in the charity’s history.

“There was a little more uncertainty, with the income taxes,” said Smulian. “Income taxes went up for wealthy individuals at the top of the range, and that was kind of settled at the very end of last year for this year. And also, it was a continuous year of appreciating assets, especially the stock market. And that often encourages folks to make charitable donations because it makes the charitable deduction more valuable.”

  He calls 2010 the low point during the recession, adding, “The last few years, it’s really felt like the confidence had slowly been building back, but this year it felt stronger to us.”

Smulian says he has noticed another change: an increase in the use of donor-advised funds. He believes that indicates donors to make sure their dollars, with which the Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations, are spent wisely.