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Foundation giving tops $40 billion

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The nation’s 71,000 grantmaking foundations gave away an estimated total of $40.7 billion last year, and they expect to continue giving at that pace in 2007, a new report says.

That’s an increase of 11.7 percent for 2006, down from the 2005 jump of 14.3 percent, says the 2007 edition of “Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates,” published by the New York City-based Foundation Center.

The second straight year of double-digit growth is due to a stronger stock market and the creation of new foundations, including operating foundations started by pharmaceutical companies.

Giving also was boosted by the emergence of “young” philanthropists, who funnel contributions through their foundations but who are not yet ready to endow them, the study says.

Giving by types of funders grew in 2006, with the fastest growth posted by community foundations at 13.2 percent.

Independent and family foundations gave 10.3 percent more than in 2005, the study says, and corporate foundations increased their grantmaking by 6 percent.

At the end of 2005, the combined assets of the nation’s foundations totaled $550.6 billion, up 7.8 percent from the previous year.

Pharmaceutical companies’ foundations are having an impact on giving, the study says, with 12 such funders, created since the 1990s to provide medications to needy patients, now accounting for almost one in 10 dollars given.

The outlook for 2007 remains strong, with almost six in 10 foundations expecting double-digit increases in giving again next year.

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