Small, mid-sized funders step up

To meet the needs of nonprofits and their constituencies during the recession, most small and mid-sized private foundations spent more than the statutory minimum on charitable efforts last year, a new report says.

About 83 percent of foundations exceeded the IRS-mandated payout of 5 percent of assets by at least 0.25 percent of average investment assets, says the report from Foundation Source, which surveyed almost 500 of its foundation clients.

And 58 percent exceeded the minimum by at least 5 percent.

Almost two-thirds of family foundations in the study entered 2009 with enough carry-forward grants to cover their 5 percent minimum, but 84 percent of them gave more than the minimum, and almost half increased their giving percentage over 2008.

More than one in three of these organizations gave more than 25 percent of their average investment assets.

Among organizations that tend to make gifts of about 5 percent of their assets each year, 63 percent gave more in 2009 than in 2008, 21 percent held giving steady, and 16 percent cut back.

“The data show that most family foundations have not limited their giving to the minimum amount required by the IRS,” Andrew Bangser, president of Foundation Source, says in a statement. “And small and midsize family foundations stepped up dramatically in this tough economy to assist a wide variety of people, organizations and causes.”

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