U.S. Foundation giving reaches an estimated $50.9 billion in 2012

News release

Even through a period of unpredictability in the national and global economic and political environment, domestic foundation giving has continued to grow at a moderate pace. According to Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, the Foundation Center‘s new annual research study, in 2011 the country’s 81,777 foundations held $622 billion in assets and distributed $49 billion, an amount estimated to have reached $50.9 billion in 2012. The outlook for 2013 is for continued modest growth overall.

Key Facts on U.S.
 is the primary publication in which the Foundation Center documents the overall size of the U.S. foundation community and provides perspective on the giving priorities of the nation’s largest foundations. The contents of the new report have been condensed and streamlined, and it visually presents findings that can be easily understood at a glance.

Among the key findings in the report:

  • Health and education are the top priorities of the country’s largest foundations, accounting for almost half of all grant dollars.
  • More than one third (35 percent) of all grant dollars awarded by the nation’s largest foundations were specifically intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged.
  • In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the single largest grant: $967 million over five years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

“It may not be the boom years of the late 1990s or mid-2000s, but the good news is that it looks like U.S. foundations will continue to provide a stable source of support for new ideas and ongoing programs that improve lives around the world,” said Steven Lawrence, the Foundation Center’s director of research and author of the report about the outlook for 2013. “What’s more, this new flagship publication reflects the Foundation Center’s commitment to communicating philanthropy’s contribution to making a better world by delivering relevant knowledge in an accessible format.”

The Foundation Center provides data and research on the activities of grantmaking institutions, meeting the need for information on trends in the field and informing decision making at social sector organizations.

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