Grants from family foundations inch up

Family philanthropy
Family philanthropy

Family foundations in the U.S. awarded grants totaling $20.6 billion to nonprofits in 2010, an increase of 1.1 percent over 2009, when giving declined 3.4 percent, a new study says.

Family foundations represent more than half of all independent foundations in the U.S., but their grantmaking represents 63 percent of all grants by independent funders, says “Key Facts on Family Foundations,” an analysis published by the Foundation Center.

While the 2010 grantmaking performance is an improvement, it still wasn’t enough to bring giving up to 2009 levels after adjusting for inflation, and gifts received by family foundations were flat from 2009 to 2010, hovering at $18.5 billion.

Among larger family foundations, those with annual grantmaking of $10,000 a year or more, health and education are the primary recipients of grants, which tend to cover the needs of the economically disadvantaged or children and youth.

More than half of grants from large family foundations are for program support, while about a quarter are for general support and another quarter fund research.

One in three of the nation’s 38,761 family foundations were created in the 2000s and another third were founded in the 1990s.

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