Donations to the Clinton Foundation plummeted to $16 million last year, down nearly 75% from the organization's peak when former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was running for president, records reviewed by Axios show.
Why it matters: The foundation was a financial juggernaut in the years after Bill Clinton served as president and while his wife led her own political career. In the time since, COVID-19 shuttered the sort of public events that had driven millions to the group — although Clinton loyalists expect increased donations this year.
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While contributions have declined since Hillary Clinton's failed run in 2016, the foundation has built up a substantial endowment —which increased during the pandemic's equities boom.
That allowed it to cash out $15 million last year to help offset lost contributions.
The foundation's financial travails were felt across the nonprofit sector last year.
By the numbers: The foundation received about $16.3 million in contributions during 2020, according to a new annual tax filing.
That was down from $29.6 million in 2019, and the peak of $62.9 million in 2016.
Some large donors of prior years continued giving in 2020, including the government of Norway; the Walton family, founders of Walmart; and longtime Clinton supporters Haim and Cheryl Saban, according to disclosures on the foundation's website.
It also reported $11.6 million in capital gains on its substantial investment portfolio in 2020, an increase of more than $1.3 million over the year prior.
That was on top of the $15 million it drew down from its endowment, which grew by more than $30 million per year in 2020 and 2019, and ended last year with a value of more than $235 million.
What they're saying: Last year "was a difficult year for philanthropy," wrote foundation CEO Kevin Thurm in a letter accompanying its annual financials. "Across the sector, resources were stretched thinly and fundraising activities were impacted."
About three-quarters of U.S. nonprofits reported the pandemic negatively impacted their fundraising during 2020, according to tax and accounting firm BDO.
The Clinton Foundation's 2020 programs were nonetheless "fully funded," Thurm wrote, thanks to the distribution from its endowment.
Much of the foundation's work was focused on pandemic-related activity in 2020, according to descriptions of its programs in its tax filing and Thurm's summary of its 2020 programs.
Bill Clinton is headed to Little Rock, Arkansas, this week for the 20th anniversary of the Clinton Presidential Center, which operates under the auspices of the foundation, a spokesperson tells Axios.
He'll also "thank volunteers and staff who helped operate the feeding program during the pandemic," the spokesperson said, referring to a foundation program that, the group says, helped provide more than 700,000 meals to people in the Little Rock area last year.
Between the lines: The foundation has historically relied on large events to court contributions — events that had to either be canceled during most of 2020 or converted to a virtual format.
The Clinton Global Initiative Action Network squeezed in a gathering in Puerto Rico in February 2020, weeks before the pandemic hit.
The foundation's annual gala had to be held remotely.
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