Unprecedented giving – Big foundations set record

Giving by the biggest U.S. foundations grew by 22 percent to a record $10 billion dollars in 1998, says a new study by the Foundation Center.

Smaller foundations reported an 18 percent growth in grants, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

Giving by the top 2 percent of U.S. foundations increased by almost $2 billion in 1997-1998, while the number of grants grew by 13 percent.

Of those grants, 350 totaled $2.5 million or more.

Almost every type of nonprofit enterprise enjoyed an increase in grant dollars in 1998, with education capturing the largest share — $2.4 billion. 

The study also found that while foundations made education their top funding priority, private donors were most likely to give to religious groups.

Foundations, in contrast, contributed only 2 percent of their funds to religious causes.

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