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Corporate foundations give over $4 billion

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Giving last year by corporate foundations reached $4.2 billion, up 6 percent from 2005, and most foundations expect to increase their generosity again next year, a new study says.

Aventis Pharmaceuticals Health Care Foundation topped the list in 2005, with $217.8 million in giving, followed by the Wal-Mart Foundation, with $155 million in donations.

Gains for corporate foundations were solid in 2006, but didn’t match the 16.5 percent jump of 2005 that was fueled by rising corporate profits and generous responses to the Asian tsunami and the Gulf Coast hurricanes, says the report released by the Council on Foundations.

Almost six in 10 corporate foundations expect to give more next year, with most planning increases of more than 10 percent, while about one in four expect to give less.

After adjusting for inflation, giving by corporate foundations since 1987 has grown more slowly than other types of foundations, the study says, and over the same period the group’s share of foundation giving has dropped to 10 percent from 17 percent.

But when considering the growing number of corporate-affiliated operating foundations, some of them created by pharmaceutical companies to distribute in-kind donations, corporations fare better.

In 2005, 113 such operating foundations gave a total of $3.2 billion, most in in-kind donations, bringing to 20 percent corporations’ share of overall foundation giving when combined with gifts from corporate foundations.

Educational efforts were the favorite among corporate foundations in 2005, receiving one in four grant dollars, followed by public affairs/society benefit, which garnered more than two in 10 grant dollars.

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