Funding kids’ health

The largest U.S. foundations have increased their funding of children’s health by more than half over the last four years, a new study says.

“Foundation Funding for Children’s Health,” a report by the Foundation Center in New York, analyzes grants of $10,000 or more made by more than 1,000 foundations in 2003, and compares them to grants made in 1999.

Grants for children’s health totaled $602.8 billion in 2003, up 54 percent from $390.6 million in 1999, buoyed in part by a few large funders, and they now make up more than one-fifth of all health care grants, the study says.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle was the single largest supporter of children’s health in 2003, giving a total of $185 million, $100 million of which was to fund the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, an effort to broaden work on a malaria vaccine project.

The Robert Wood Johnson in Princeton, N.J., was the second-largest funder, giving $74.9 million in 2003.

Disease treatment and research garnered the largest share of grant dollars at 26.3 percent, up from 17 percent in 1999, the study says, followed by public health, which doubled its share over the four years to 19.4 percent.

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