Grantmaking by a set of 502 U.S. foundations fell 14.2 percent in 2009 to a total of about $22 billion, with grant dollars to eight of 10 funding areas also declining, a new report says.
The decline was significantly higher than the 2.1 percent drop in overall grantmaking from 2008 to 2009, most likely because the report from the Foundation Center mainly included new grants, rather than amounts paid on previous pledges.
The total number of grants fell 6.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, and the number of mega-grants of $10 million or more fell to 186 from 214.
Education, and public affairs and society benefit, were the only issue areas to receive more grants dollars in 2009 than in 2008.
Among the remaining eight issue areas, the environment, social sciences and science and technology saw the largest declines in grant dollars received.
Education and health each received about 23 percent of grant dollars, more than any other area, while human services received 13 percent and public affairs and society benefit received 12 percent.
International giving took at hit in 2009, falling to $5.2 billion from $6.2 billion in 2008.
The majority of grants in 2009 continued to be for program support, but general operating support grew to 21.7 percent of all grants from 19.2 percent in 2008, while the share for capital support fell to 13.5 percent from 15.8 percent.
Funders in the Western region of the U.S. awarded a total of 7.8 billion in grants in 2009, more than any other region, followed by the Northeast, with $5.9 billion; Midwest, $4.2 billion; and South, $4.1 billion.