Grants up at small and mid-size funders

Page Snow
Page Snow

Grantmaking by small and mid-sized foundations grew in 2010 compared to 2009, new data show.

The number of grants by those foundations grew 8.7 percent, while the value of those grants grew 17.8 percent, according to an analysis by Foundation Source based on its database of over 900 private foundations throughout the U.S.

The findings were based on real-time data from over 33,000 grants Foundation Source processed for its client foundations over the two-year period.

The increase in 2010 followed a 15 percent increase in the number of grants by the same group of small foundations, or those with assets of $250,000 to $5 million, and mid-size foundations, or those with assets of $5 million to $100 million.

“This points to a dichotomy in foundation grantmaking as grants by larger institutional foundations are reported to have declined in 2009,” Page Snow, chief philanthropic officer at Foundation Source, says in a statement.

Ninety-nine percent of all family foundations have assets under $100 million and represent half of all foundations, she says.

“Based on this new grantmaking data, these foundations remain focused on their mission and have not been deterred by recent uncertainty in the economy and financial markets,” she says.

Fields of interest that saw the biggest increase in the value of grants in 2010 from small and mid-size foundations were arts and culture, public affairs/society benefit, and religion, which saw increases of 67.6 percent, 33.2 percent and 29.3 percent, respectively.

Only two fields of interest saw declines in the number and value of grants, including health, which posted a decline of 0.3 percent, and science and technology, which posted a decline of 41.6 percent.

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