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Foundation Giving Rises in 2004

(Aug, 8, 2005) A new study released by the Foundation Center in Washington D.C., reports that giving by the United State's grantmaking foundations rose 7 percent to an estimated $32.4 billion in 2004.

According to the report, Foundation Yearbook, 2005 Edition, foundation giving in 2004 reversed the declines of the previous two years. Giving was six percent higher than in 2001, the previous peak year for foundation giving. However this gain didn't keep pace with the 9.5 percent rise in assets that foundations experienced in 2003.

The report attributes the reversal primarily to the slow stock market recovery that began in 2003 and a higher level of new gifts to foundations. An additional factor contributing to the overall growth was a modest increase in newly established foundations.

Giving in 2005 is likely to increase modestly, the study reported, with growth tempered by economic uncertainty and fluctuation in the stock market.

Grantmaking Foundation Growth, Giving and Assets in 2003

Foundation Yearbook, 2005 Edition, documents changes in the actual number, giving, and assets of all active U.S. foundations from 1975 through 2003 and provides estimates of foundation giving through 2004.

The number of foundations in the U.S. reached a record 66,398 in 2003, up 2.4 percent from the previous year. Despite this gain, giving by grantmaking foundations in 2003 slipped 0.4 percent from 2002 to $30.3 billion.

However, this decrease was not uniform across the country, with foundations in the Northeast raising their level of giving 3.1 percent in the in 2003 led by strong growth in funding by foundations based in Maine and New Jersey.

Similarly, grantmakers in the West managed a 1.3 percent increase in their giving, buoyed by gains in giving by foundations in Wyoming and California. In contrast, Midwestern and Southern foundations registered declines of 5.4 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

By share of overall giving, the Northeast continued to lead ($10.6 billion), followed by the South ($6.7 billion). The West ranked third ($6.6 billion), registering the largest increase in assets in 2003, surpassing the Midwest ($6.4 billion) for the first time on record.

The study also reported total giving by foundations by state, with five states accounting for close to half of all giving in 2003:

  • New York (18 percent)
  • California (12.4 percent)
  • New Jersey (6.5 percent)
  • Washington (5.2 percent)
  • Pennsylvania (5.1 percent)
  • All other states (52.9 percent)

While giving was down in 2003, foundation assets were up, according to the Foundation Yearbook. Assets of all active U.S. foundations rebounded to $476.7 billion, but remained below the record $486.1 billion reached in 2000. All but four states reported asset increases in 2003, with Delaware registering the largest percentage growth in assets and California reporting the largest gain in actual dollars.

Giving by corporate foundations grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2004, following just a 0.2 percent uptick in 2003 and a 5.3 percent gain in 2002.

In contrast, giving by community foundations grew by an estimated 8.6 percent in 2004. Over the previous two years, community foundation giving increased by only 1.4 percent.

About the Report

Foundation Yearbook, 2005 Edition, provides an overview of the state of foundation giving in the current year and beyond; comparisons of foundation activities by foundation size; and breakdowns of foundation resources by geographic location and grantmaker type.

Findings presented in the report are based on aggregate fiscal data collected by the Foundation Center on all active U.S. foundations. Estimates for 2004 are based on survey figures reported by over 900 large and mid-size foundations combined with year-end fiscal indicators.

To order the report, visit the Foundation Center's website.

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