October 3, 2013

U.S. Foundations Gave $51B in 2012

Health and education were top priorities of the largest foundations

U.S. private and community foundations’ grantmaking in 2012 reached an estimated $50.9 billion, according to the Foundation Center’s new annual research study.

The center’s Key Facts on U.S. Foundations said the 2012 estimate was up from the $49 billion contributed in 2011 by 81,777 foundations with $622 billion in assets.

The final 2011 figure was an upward revision of the original estimate.

The report predicted further modest growth in 2013.

“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,” Steven Lawrence, the center's director of research and author of the report, said in a statement.

U.S. foundations comprise independents, generally set up by individual donors or donor families; those that run their own programs and may also make grants; corporates; and community groups that raise funds from the public.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Health and education accounted for 28% and 20%, respectively, of all grant dollars given by the country's largest foundations in 2011
  • 35% of all grant dollars awarded were specifically intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged
  • The median grant amount was $28,462
  • Program support received 55% of grant dollars, followed by general support (29%) and capital support (21%).
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the single biggest grant in 2011: $967 million over five years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

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Check out Private Foundation Assets Rebound From Recession on ThinkAdvisor.

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