Private foundations with less than $50 million in assets earned more, gave more and received more contributions from their donors last year than they did during 2016, Foundation Source, a support services provider for private foundations, reported this week.
The report’s findings were based on Foundation Source’s analysis of the activities of a sample of 927 of its private, non-operating client foundations with assets of less than $50 million. For inclusion in the study, foundations had to have been clients during the 2016 and 2017 study period, and to have been in existence at least three years.
Even accounting for grants and expenses, the overall asset balances of the foundations in the report grew by 13.2% in 2017, compared with 6.6% growth the year before. These gains were attributable in part to last year’s bull market.
In the aggregate, assets held by the 927 foundations increased from $4 billion at the end of 2016 to $4.5 billion by the end of 2017.
At the same time, donors went above and beyond their robust investment returns to fund their charitable giving. They contributed 83 cents to their foundations for every 89 cents they disbursed as grants and related expenses.
“The high rate of contributions is a good indication of donor commitment to and enthusiasm for their private foundations,” Page Snow, Foundation Source’s chief philanthropic officer, said in a statement.
“Rather than relying on investment returns, donors are providing infusions of fresh capital to fund their charitable interests.”
The 927 private foundations in the study group collectively gave $285 million to charity in 2017, $19 million more than in 2016. Not only that, these foundations exceeded the mandatory 5% distribution requirement, on average distributing 8.2% of their assets for charitable purposes.