Giving grows at private foundations

Private U.S. foundations with less than $50 million in assets gave 9.1 percent more in grants in 2012 than in 2011, preliminary findings from a new report show.

Giving by foundations with $1 million to $10 million in assets grew 21.5 percent, while giving fell 0.4 percent for foundations with under $1 million in assets, and was down 1.5 percent for those with $10 million to $50 million in assets.

The preliminary findings are based on grantmaking by 732 clients of Foundation Source, which in May plans to release its 2013 Annual Report on Private Foundations.

Foundations with endowments of less than $50 million represent 98 percent of roughly 80,000 private foundations in the U.S., Foundation Source says.

Grants and charitable expenses combined, known as “qualifying distributions,” grew to 11.7 percent of assets for private foundations, up from 11.2 percent in 2011.

Qualifying distributions fell to 22.2 percent of assets from 22.6 percent among foundations with assets under $1 million, grew to 13.5 percent of assets from 12.3 percent among foundations with assets of $1 million to $10 million, and were flat at 8.7 percent among foundations with assets from $10 million to $50 million,.

The share of giving to international causes, arts and culture, and human services all grew, while giving to other causes fell or was flat.

Education received the biggest share, 25.7 percent, down from 27.1 percent in 2011, followed by public affairs and society benefit, which received 16.8 percent, down from 18.7 percent in 2011.

Grants of less than $1,000 grew 16.8 percent in value, compared to increases of 16.2 percent for grants between $100,000 to $1 million, and 4.9 percent for grants between $1,000 and $10,000.

— Todd Cohen

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