Family foundations growing

The number of family foundation in the U.S. has grown by almost a quarter over the last four years, outpacing the growth in assets, grants and gifts, a new study says.

In 2005, the U.S. had almost 34,000 family foundations, up 22.3 percent from 2001, says the new “Key Facts on Family Foundations,” produced by the New York-based Foundation Center.

Assets for the group as a whole jumped 14 percent to $233 billion over the same period, while giving was up 8.2 percent to $14 billion and gifts received grew 4.4 percent to almost $12 billion.

More than one in five family foundations had assets of less than $1 million in 2005, and half awarded less than $50,000 in grants, the report says.

Larger foundations were more likely than smaller ones to fund efforts focusing on education, health and the environment and animals, and less likely to fund human services and arts and culture.

The largest share of grant dollars awarded went to fund programs, the report says, while the least was directed toward student aid.

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