For more than two hundred years, Ohio has developed its sense of statehood as a loosely connected conglomeration of municipalities, each of which exercises extensive control over its operations. This distinctive home-rule structure is evidenced by its 88 counties, 938 municipalities, 614 school districts, 251 library districts and 1,215 fire departments.
Alongside this home-rule independence has grown a similarly-organized philanthropic landscape, with 3,277 foundations that are managed and give locally and 41,262 nonprofits operated and offering services locally.
Other trends that define the state – several large urban areas interspersed among a large rural landscape, the rise and fall of manufacturing, to name two – are also reflected in the scope and nature of Ohio’s philanthropy. Over 60 percent of the state’s foundations and over 30 percent of nonprofits are based in three urban counties: Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton. Ohio’s philanthropic landscape is also unique in the number of community foundations (68, second highest number in the country) that serve nearly every part of the state.
These patterns and others are discussed in Ohio Grantmakers Forum’s state of philanthropy report. For the first time, this report includes information on the state’s nonprofit grantee segment of the sector as well as a first glimpse at data reflecting the impact of the Great Recession.