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Corporate-foundation giving flat

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Grantmaking by corporate foundations held steady last year, but was unable to keep up with inflation and is expected to fall this year, a new report says.

Grants awarded by the nearly 2,500 corporate foundations in the U.S. totaled an estimated $4.4 billion in 2008, up 0.8 percent from 2007, but down about 3 percent after adjusting for inflation.

And with over half of corporate funders anticipating a further decline in giving this year, overall funding for the sector is likely to fall in 2009, says the report from the Foundation Center.

Much of that decline is due to the effect of the recession on corporate profits, particularly in the banking and financial industries, which have accounted for about a quarter of corporate giving in recent years.

Since 1990, giving by corporate foundations has grown at a cumulative rate of 90 percent, significantly slower than community foundations, which posted a growth rate of 479 percent, and independent foundations, whose giving grew 209 percent over the same period.

Corporate-foundation giving now accounts for 10 percent of all foundation giving, down from a 17 percent share in 1990.

About one in four dollars awarded by corporate foundations are allocated for education, more than any other recipient group, followed by public affairs and society benefit, which garnered 20 percent, and human services, which received 10 percent.

Bank of American Charitable Foundation awarded a total of $188 million in grants in 2007, more than any other corporate funder, followed by Sanofi-Aventis Patient Assistance Foundation, which gave $177 million, and Wal-Mart Foundation, which awarded $111 million.

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