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Corporate giving climbs

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Continuing a long upward trend, giving by corporate foundations in the U.S. jumped 7 percent to $4.4 billion last year, a new report says.

That rise was due in part to a 9 percent jump in the amount corporations gave to their affiliated foundations, which received a total of $4.4 billion in 2006, says “Key Facts on Corporate Foundations,” a report by The Foundation Center.

Assets for the 2,548 corporate foundations in the U.S. totaled $19.7 billion in 2006, up almost 11 percent over 2005.

Aventis Pharmaceuticals Health Care Foundation topped the list of corporate givers in 2006 with $221.7 million in donations, followed by Bank of America Charitable Foundation, which gave $144.8 million, and the Wal-Mart Foundation, which gave $128 million.

Overall, one in 20 corporate foundations gave away $1 million or more in 2006, the report says.

While dollars given by corporate foundations have been trending up, their donations are declining as a percentage of overall foundation giving, accounting for 17 percent of total giving in 1990 and 10 percent in 2007, the report says.

Education groups were the favorite of corporate foundations in 2006, receiving a quarter of grant dollars, followed by human services groups, which received just over one in five grant dollars.

Corporate funders provide a larger share of their donations for public affairs and society benefit than do other types of foundations, the report says, and prefer to make program grants rather than provide operating support.

Slightly more than half the funders surveyed said the were optimistic about their giving in 2008 and expected to give more, but more than one in four anticipated giving less.

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