Giving by U.S. foundations lost ground to inflation in 2011 even as total giving increased by 2.2% to an estimated $46.9 billion, surpassing the 2008 peak, according to a study released Thursday by the Foundation Center.
After accounting for inflation, foundation giving last year was down slightly from 2010. Worse, if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were removed from the total, 2011 giving by the nation’s more than 77,600 foundations would have been down by about 3% after inflation. Gates is the largest grant maker in the country.
More than a third of respondents to the Foundation Center’s annual Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates said they had cut back on giving in 2011 because of the volatile economic environment.