Community foundations give $3.6 billion

Giving by community foundations in the U.S. jumped 13.2 percent to $3.6 billion in 2006, outpacing growth by independent and private foundations, a new report says.

The gains were driven by asset growth and a 45 percent spike in gifts to community foundations in 2006, says “Key Facts on Community Foundations,” released in September by the Foundation Center.

Community foundations’ 2006 results continue a long-standing trend that has seen giving by the sector grow 376 percent since 1990, after adjusting for inflation, compared to growth of 172 percent for independent foundations and 90 percent for corporate foundations.

While community funders make up only 1 percent of foundations, they represent almost one in 10 dollars given, the report says.

Most community foundations expect these trends to continue, with six in 10 anticipating another increase in giving in 2007.

Almost half those foundations, however, expect to give less next year.

The report identified the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation as the largest giver, awarding $140.7 million 2005 from $1.013 billion in assets, followed by the New York Community Trust, which reported $137 million in grants and $1.9 billion in assets.

Overall, community foundations reported combined assets of $44.6 billion in 2005, with about half reporting $10 million or less.

And while three in five gave less than $1 million in 2005, about one in 10 gave $10 million or more, the report says.

Education was the favorite issue area for community foundations in 2005, receiving 23 percent of grant dollars, followed closely by human services, which received 22 percent.

Community foundations were more likely to provide general operating support to grantees than were other funders, giving almost three in 10 dollars as general support, compared to just over two in 10 dollars for foundations overall.

Children and youth and the poor were population groups favored by community foundations in 2005, the report says, receiving significantly more dollars than other segments of society.

The Midwest is home to the almost half the nation’s 707 community foundations, more than any other region, but the South leads in grantmaking, with just over one in every three dollars awarded.

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