It was another year of lower asset values for the 25 largest charitable foundations in Los Angeles, but the pace of decline appears to be slowing. The $19.7 billion in aggregate asset value of the 25 largest in 2002 was 6.3 percent lower than 2001. That year, the decline in asset value was 9.9 percent from the year earlier.

Nationally, the overall foundation asset value fell in 2002 by an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent, according to a report by the Foundation Center.

Individually, only five local foundations saw an increase in asset value in 2002. The Broad Foundations, fifth on the list, saw the largest gain, at $78 million. Of the three foundations under that umbrella, however, only the Broad Art Foundation posted a gain, up $127 million to $250 million.

California Endowment, second on the list, took the biggest hit, with asset value declining by more than 20 percent, about $700 million. "It's a combination of our commitment to grantmaking, which hasn't changed, and the overall stock market and economic environment," said Rakash Varma, chief financial officer for the Endowment.

Nicole Taylor


J. Paul Getty Trust

The J. Paul Getty Trust held steady in 2002, with its asset value declining by $170 million, or less than 2 percent, to $8.6 billion. This is a marked improvement over 2001, when it shed more than $1.5 billion in asset value.

Further signs of health include an increase in the number of grants by close to a quarter, to 1,873. The value of grants awarded increased by 10 percent, to $20 million. Grant sizes ranged from $1,000 to $500,000.

Established in 1982, the Trust supports education, conservation and research in the visual arts. There are five main programs, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Leadership Institute and the Getty Grant Program.

The Getty Trust recently announced it would borrow $275 million to pay for the renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa in Malibu, the original Getty Museum founded in 1953 by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Initially estimated at $150 million in 1999, the project ran into trouble when neighbors sued to halt construction, fearing noise and traffic congestion. The California State Supreme Court dismissed the neighbors' final appeal in February, clearing the way for the renovation.

Nicole Taylor

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