Charitable giving by small and midsize U.S. private foundations increased last year both in dollar value and relative to the overall size of foundation assets, according to a new report.
On Tuesday, Foundation Source released preliminary findings on 2012 giving activity by U.S. private foundations with endowments of less than $50 million. These represent 98% of all private foundations in the U.S.
The initial report on 2012 giving behavior included these findings:
- Private foundations with less than $50 million granted 9.1% more in 2012 than in 2011. The report attributed much of this increase to foundations in the $1 million to $10 million range, which granted 21.5% more in 2012 than the year before.
- Smaller private foundations continued to pay out more than twice their 5% minimum distribution requirement, and in 2012 actually increased their qualifying distributions (grants plus charitable expenses) to 11.7% of assets, up from 11.2% in 2011.
- Priorities shifted in 2012, with international causes, arts and culture, and human services receiving an increased share of giving dollars.
- Grants of less than $1,000 experienced the biggest increase from 2011 to 2012, up 16.8% in value. These were followed by grants between $100,000 and $1 million, up 16.2% in value. Grants in the $1,000-to-$10,000 range showed the smallest increase, up 4.9% in value.
“The narrative over the last few years has been that foundations under $50 million were ‘stepping up’ to do more during hard times,” Foundation Source’s CEO, King McGlaughon, said in a statement.