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Major Community Foundation Benchmarks Hit New Highs in 2012

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Community foundation asset, gift and grant amounts reached new highs in 2012 for the first time since the recession, according to a report released Tuesday by the Council on Foundations and CF Insights.

Researchers collected data from 276 organizations, including those representing more than 90% of total estimated community foundation assets.

The study found that the community foundation sector represents $58 billion in assets, $6.9 billion in gifts and $4.5 billion in grants. Seventy-nine percent of community foundations had 2012 asset levels that exceeded those of 2007.

Between 2011 and 2012, assets experienced average growth of 9%, gifts 15% and grants 6%.

Seventy-five percent of community foundations increased their operating budget in 2012.

According to the study, administrative fees still drive community foundation revenue, accounting for about 65% of total revenue on average. Although most community foundations surveyed had a diversified revenue base, this was particularly true for smaller entities.

Half of small community foundations’ revenue came from administrative fee, compared with 70% for midsize ones and 76% for large groups.

In another significant finding, donor advisors increased assets held in community foundation donor-advised funds by 22% on average, faster growth than for assets overall.

Excluding supporting organizations, DAFs represented 69% of total gifts and 61% of total grants for community foundations. 


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