Friday, November 07, 2014

Foundation giving hits an all-time high

A new report from the Foundation Center, among other things, foundation giving in the US has reached a record high of $54.7 billion. The report estimates that foundation giving will continue to grow at a few points above inflation in 2014, with independent and family foundations showing an even higher rate of growth. According to the report, in 2012 the US was home to more than 86,000 foundations.

The link above will take you to a one-page infographic/summary. From there you can download the 8-page report, which is also very graphic-heavy and easy to digest.

I put less stock in the numbers related to how/where foundations are giving (e.g. to education, health... or to economically disadvantaged, women and girls...), mainly because the sample size was relatively small - 1,000 larger foundations. However, I do think that the scope of the foundation world, the total amount of foundation assets, the rates of growth, and other statistics are interesting, revealing, and even surprising.

In my own work with foundations, I haven't necessarily seen that foundations are giving more, or are giving more easily. Securing foundation gifts still requires a skillful approach to cultivation and solicitation, ideally a partnership between foundation and grantee. While foundations may be giving more, my sense is that they are giving in a more focused, specific way, and there are more organizations out there doing the asking, which makes for a highly competitive field.


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