Foundation giving flat in 2010

Foundation giving
Foundation giving

Giving by U.S. foundations fell 0.2 percent to $45.7 billion in 2010, rebounding from a record-high 2.1 percent drop between 2008 and 2009, and is expected to grow 2 percent to 4 percent this year and make another modest gain in 2012, a new report says.

The “remarkably modest” decline in foundation giving in 2009 followed a record-high 17 percent loss in foundation assets in 2008 and in part reflected 4.5 percent growth in foundation assets in the second half of 2009 as a result of rebound in the stock market, says Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, a report by the Foundation Center.

Assets of the more than 76,000 grantmaking foundations in the U.S grew an estimated 5.3 percent to $621.4 billion in 2010, the highest level since 2006, or 3.6 percent adjusted for inflation.

While over 45 percent of 1,141 large and mid-size foundations responding to the Foundation Center’s 2011 Foundation giving Forecast Survey reduced their funding in 2010, actions by other grantmakers “buoyed the field,” the Foundation Center says.

Many foundations, for example, maintained the level of their grants budgets or limited their reductions by tapping their endowments, for example, or reducing their administrative expenses.

“Foundations provided stability for nonprofits during a time of crisis,” Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center, says in a statement. “Many made extraordinary efforts to maintain their giving levels, while other, often newer foundations even increased their giving.”

Independent and family foundations, which represent the bulk of U.S. foundations, gave an estimated $32.5 billion in 2010, down 0.8 percent from 2009, while corporate foundations gave $4.7 billion, up 0.2 percent, and community foundations gave $4.1 billion, down 2.1 percent.

Fifty-two percent of foundations responding to the survey plan to increase their giving in 2011, while 17 percent plan keep it roughly the same and 30 percent expect it to decline.

Seventy-four percent of foundations with less than $1 million in giving expect to give more or the same amount this year, compared with 55 percent of foundations with over $10 million in giving.

Overall, roughly two-thirds of all foundations expect to increase or maintain their giving this year.

Just 6.5 percent of foundations expect lower levels of giving in 2012, while 27.2 percent expect to give more, 50.6 expect to keep it steady and 16 percent are uncertain.

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