U.S. Foundation Giving Hits $50.9 Billion

Giving by domestic foundations continued to grow at a moderate pace in 2011 and 2012, despite economic and political uncertainty in the United States and globally, a new study from the Foundation Center finds.

According to the report, Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, the country’s 81,777 foundations held $622 billion in assets and distributed $49 billion in grants in 2011 — an amount estimated to have reached $50.9 billion in 2012. The outlook for 2013 is for continued modest growth overall.

The report also found that, once again, health and education were the top priorities of the country’s largest foundations, accounting for almost half of all grant dollars; that 35 percent of all grant dollars awarded by the nation’s largest foundations were specifically intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged; and that the single largest award made in 2011 was a five-year, $967 million grant to the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — which topped the list of international grantmakers with $3.9 billion in giving, and was second on the domestic grantmaking list with $482 million in giving, behind the Walton Family Foundation ($1.4 billion).

Key Facts on U.S. Foundations is the primary publication in which the Foundation Center documents the overall size of the U.S. foundation community and provides perspective on the giving priorities of the nation’s largest foundations. The report includes analyses of grantmaking trends among 1,122 of the largest U.S. foundations by issue area, type of support, population served, and grantee location.

“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 source of support for new ideas and ongoing programs that improve lives around the world,” said Steven Lawrence, the Foundation Center’s director of research and author of the report. “What’s more, this new flagship publication reflects the Foundation Center’s commitment to communicating philanthropy’s contribution to making a better world by delivering relevant knowledge in an accessible format.”

More information on the report can be found at this link: http://foundationcenter.org/media/news/20131001.html