Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Foundations Increased Giving by 14.6% in 2006

This just in from The Chronicle of Philanthropy ...

February 28, 2008
Foundations Increased Giving by 14.6% in 2006, New Study Finds
By Caroline Preston
The nation’s largest foundations increased their giving to $19.1-billion in 2006, rising 16.4 percent over the previous year, according to a report released today by the Foundation Center, in New York.
The number of grants awarded also rose, but more slowly, by 7.3 percent to 140,484.
The report, which was based on a survey of nearly 1,300 grant makers, attributed the growth in part to the financier Warren Buffett’s 2006 gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has enabled the Seattle fund to step up its giving. The strong stock market also helped boost foundation assets nationwide and led them to give out more money, the report said.
While foundation giving to all major causes increased in 2006, there were some shifts in how foundations chose to award their money.
For the first time since such data were first collected in the late 1980s, health groups won more support than any other cause, including education. That gain was due largely to the Gates foundation’s giving to global health, the report said.
Giving to health charities rose 17 percent annually from 2003 to 2006, to $4.4-billion. By contrast, education groups won $4.3-billion, while human-services groups received $2.7-billion and arts groups $2.3-billion.
Grant making to charities that work in international affairs, development, and peace increased more rapidly than giving to any other cause. Contributions to such groups rose by 43 percent a year between 2003 and 2006, reaching $1-billion, the report said. Giving to international causes, meanwhile, reached $4.2-billion, or 22 percent of total foundation dollars.
Support for Overhead
The survey also found that foundations increased the amount they gave charities to pay for their overhead costs, but not as rapidly as they increased grants to carry out specific programs or finance renovations and construction.
Foundation grants for overhead costs grew by 6.7 percent annually from 2003 to 2006, to $3.6-billion. By contrast, grants for charitable programs increased 15.4 percent annually, to $9.6-billion.
Giving by funds on the West Coast outpaced grant making by East Coast foundations for the first time since the study was first conducted, due largely to giving by the Gates foundation. However, charities in the Northeast received more money than did organizations in other parts of the country, according to the study.
Independent foundations provided the biggest share of their grants to health, international affairs, science, and social-science causes. Corporate grant makers favored education causes, and community foundations gave the most to human-services organizations.
A summary of the report, Foundation Giving Trends, is available free on the Foundation Center’s Web site. A full report is available for $45 or for $95 if purchased as part of the Foundations Today Series, a three-book annual set of research reports. It can be ordered online or by calling (800) 424-9836.

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