Grants by the biggest U.S. foundations to support social justice totaled $3.1 billion in 2009 and accounted for over 14 percent of their grant dollars, virtually flat compared to 2008, and 11 percent of their grants, a new report says.
Forty-seven percent of social-justice grant dollars supported international activities, says Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking, a report by the Foundation Center.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the biggest grantmaker in the U.S., awarded the most dollars for social justice and accounted for over one-fourth of all social-justice giving, the report says.
The top 25 social-justice funders accounted for over 70 percent of social-justice giving.
Social-justice grants, which support nonprofits that “work for structural change in order to increase the opportunity of those who are the least well off politically, economically and socially,” the Foundation Center says, supports activities that range from human rights to environmental justice and the arts.
Twenty-nine percent of grant dollars for social justice in 2009, representing the biggest share of those dollars, supported economic and community development, followed by 17 percent for health-care access and affordability, and 13 percent for human rights and civil liberties.
The Gates Foundation gave $868.4 million for social justice in 2009, or 28.8 percent of its overall giving, followed by the Ford Foundation, which gave $266.5 million, or 59.4 percent; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, $114.2 million, or 52.1 percent; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, $94.9 million, or 47.5 percent; and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $82.7 million, or 28.1 percent.