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Foundation Giving Exceeds $33 Billion in 2005

(Aug. 7, 2006) Buoyed by the establishment of new foundations, a slowly growing economy and support for relief efforts for the Southeast Asia tsunami and Gulf Coast hurricanes, giving by U.S. foundations increased to an estimated $33.8 billion in 2005, according to a new report.

Foundation Yearbook 2006, produced by the New York-based Foundation Center, shows a foundation sector that continues to recover from the economic downtown of several years ago. Foundation giving has now risen by more than 5 percent over the past two years (5.5 percent in 2005 and 5.1 percent in 2004). However, despite these gains, inflation-adjusted giving continues to fall below the record level reached in 2001. 

The report estimates that, accounting for inflation, foundation giving in 2006 will likely be “modest.”

Detailed Analysis on 2004 Giving

While the 2005 preliminary numbers are strong, most of the information in Foundation Yearbook 2006 provides detailed analysis of foundation giving in 2004. The data is arranged by type of foundation, region and state.

In 2004, the number of grant-making foundations reached almost 68,000. Most (88.6 percent) are independent foundations that account for 73.3 percent of all giving by foundations, or $23.3 billion. Assets of independent foundations increased by 6.5 percent, a slight decrease from the 9.6 percent rise in 2003.

Operating foundations are the next largest group, accounting for 6.5 percent of all foundations and giving 6.8 percent of all gifts, or $2.2 billion, in 2004.

Giving by corporate foundations declined slightly by 1 percent in 2004, although assets jumped by about 8 percent and assets reached a record $16.6 billion. Corporate foundations make up 3.8 percent of all foundations and gave 10.8 percent of all giving.

While community foundations comprise the smallest subgroup of foundations (1 percent of all foundations), they make up roughly 9.2 percent of all giving. Community foundation assets grew by 13.6 percent in 2004, following a 14.7 percent gain in 2003.

West Leads the Way

Foundations in the West led the way in 2004, posting the highest growth in giving and the largest increase in actual dollars granted. For the first time since the Foundation Center began its yearbook in 1975, Western funders gave more than their Southern counterparts (22.4 percent versus 21.9 percent). Foundations in the Northeast continue to give the most overall, 34.2 percent.

Thirty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, experienced increases in foundation giving in 2004. Overall, New York foundations reported the largest amount of giving. Alaska had the highest rate of growth, while New Jersey had the largest increase in actual dollars granted.

According to the report, five states account for nearly half (46.7 percent) of all 2004 foundation giving: New York (16.7 percent), California (12.7 percent), New Jersey (8.0 percent), Washington (5.2 percent) and Pennsylvania (4.2 percent).

About the Report

Data in the Foundation Yearbook 2006 are based on aggregate fiscal data collected by the Foundation Center on all active U.S. foundations. Estimates for 2005 are based on survey figures reported by 853 large and mid-size foundations combined with year-end fiscal indicators.

Founded in 1956 and supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.

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