The Third Sector Trends Study was established to provide free information on not-for-profit activity in the region to help underpin policy.
The first phase, commissioned in 2007 for £500,000, involved quantitative research led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Professor John Mohan of Southampton University, and qualitative research led by Professor Tony Chapman of Teesside University and Professor Fred Robinson of Durham University.
Trends in the North, an evaluation of findings from the first wave of research, was published last month.
The findings show that there are 4,760 charities in the north-east – 3 per cent of all UK charities – as well as 9,000 ‘below-the-radar’ voluntary organisations not registered with the Charity Commission or Companies House.
Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the foundation, said the second phase would be completed by Teesside University by March 2013.
Wilkinson said that by then a picture would have emerged about which organisations in the region were best surviving the economic downturn and "what kind of support the voluntary sector will need in future".
The foundation’s own future is uncertain: it currently receives 1 per cent of Northern Rock’s pre-tax profits, but it is not known whether this support will continue if, as the government has indicated, the bank is privatised.
The current deal was signed in January this year on a two-year rolling agreement that is due to be reviewed annually.