U.S. foundation funding in support of nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure globally totaled $1.94 billion between 2004 and 2015, a report from Foundation Center finds.
Based on an analysis of the center's FC 1000 research data set, which includes all grants of $10,000 or more made by a thousand of the largest U.S. private and community foundations, the report, U.S. Foundation Funding for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Infrastructure 2004-2015 (43 pages, PDF), found that 881 funders awarded infrastructure grants to 511 nonprofits over the twelve-year period, with the number of funders contributing in any given year rising from 346 in 2004 to 430 in 2015, and total funding growing from a three-year average of $143 million in 2004–06 to $179 million in 2013–15.
Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the study also found that while overall giving by foundations in the data set grew 66 percent (35 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars) between 2004 and 2015, infrastructure-related giving grew only 25 percent (4 percent). Funding for infrastructure accounted for just 0.71 percent of total giving during the twelve-year period, falling from 0.86 percent of total giving in 2004 to 0.59 percent in 2015.
According to the report, twenty-seven foundations awarded an average of more than $1 million a year in infrastructure grants, accounting for about 60 percent of all infrastructure funding; that group includes the W.K. Kellogg, Ford, and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations, which accounted for 24 percent of average annual funding for infrastructure. The report also found that thirty-five infrastructure organizations received 48 percent of all infrastructure funding, with the top four recipients — Foundation Center, the Bridgespan Group, Independent Sector, and the Council on Foundations — each receiving an average of more than $5 million a year.
A follow-up to a 2015 report, the study found that funding for nonprofit-focused organizations and associations that provide services in support of the work of nonprofit organizations or the nonprofit sector in general increased 24 percent between 2013 and 2015, from an average of $71 million to $88 million, while funding for philanthropy-focused organizations and associations and multi-sector infrastructure organizations that provide services in support of the work of organizations in academia, government, and business both fell.
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