Foundation giving posts modest growth

Giving by U.S. foundations grew to $50.9 million in 2012 from $49 million a year earlier and is expected to grow modestly in 2013, a new report says.

Giving by community foundations grew 9 percent in 2012 to $4.7 billion, compared to growth of 4 percent in giving by independent and by operating foundations, which gave $35.2 billion and $5.9 billion, respectively, says Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, a report from the Foundation Center.

Giving by corporate foundations fell 1 percent to $5.1 billion.

Foundation giving, which in 2011 represented 16 percent of the total $303.1 billion in private giving in the U.S., has grown over 60 percent since 2001, the report says.

“It may not be the boom years of the late 1990s or mid-2000s, but the good news is that it looks like U.S. foundations will continue to provide a stable  sources of support for new ideas and ongoing programs that improve lives around the world,” Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center and author of the report.

The report also says that:

* In 2011, the 81,777 foundations in the U.S. held $622 billion in assets, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation alone holding $34.6 billion

* Among the 1,122 biggest foundations, which hold 56 percent of all foundation assets, and award 56 percent of all foundation grants, support for health and education accounted for nearly half of all grant dollars, with the Gates Foundation alone giving $3.2 billion. The biggest foundations include the top 15 in each state.

* The Gates Foundation’s investment of $967 million over five years in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization represented the single biggest grant made by any U.S. foundation.

* Among all grant dollars awarded by the biggest foundations, 35 percent were specifically intended to benefit economically disadvantaged people.

* The top 1 percent of recipients of grants from the biggest foundations received half of those foundations’ grant dollars, with their median grant totaling $28,462.

* Operating and corporate foundations established by pharmaceutical companies give over $5 billion a year, nearly all of its in the form of donated medicines.

Todd Cohen

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