Defying expectations in a year of economic recession, continuing stock market decline, and national uncertainty in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. grantmaking foundations increased their contributions to nonprofit organizations by $1.4 billion, according to a new report from the Foundation Center. Foundations gave an estimated $29 billion in 2001 — the highest level of giving on record — up 5.1 percent (2.1 percent after inflation) over the $27.6 billion now reported for 2000. Overall, foundation giving has more than doubled since 1996.
Several factors contributed to positive growth in foundation giving in 2001. Foundation assets increased by 8.4 percent in 2000, from $448.6 billion to $486.1 billion, providing an important indicator of positive change in 2001 giving, especially for independent foundations. Also, foundations continued to fulfill multi-year grant commitments made in the boom years of the late 1990s through mid-2000. In addition, start-up giving by new foundations and the foundation community's exceptional response to the September 11 attacks helped to boost giving in 2001.
These findings are presented in "Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: 2001 Preview," part of the Foundation Center's "Foundations Today Series" of annual research reports. This twelve-page summary provides a forecast of 2001 giving together with a "first look" at aggregate 2000 giving and asset data for the close to 56,600 grantmaking foundations tracked by the Center. Giving projections for 2001 are based on estimates reported by more than 1,800 large and mid-size foundations, combined with year-end fiscal indicators and supplemental reporting by donors on September 11-related contributions. The Center will release an in-depth examination of 2000 foundation growth trends in "Foundation Yearbook: Facts and Figures on Private and Community Foundations" in June. An analysis of the areas of giving in 2000 for a sample of 1,015 larger foundations (accounting for more than half of all giving) is available in "Foundation Giving Trends: Update on Funding Priorities, 2002 Edition."
To view the complete twelve-page report (PDF format), visit: http://fdncenter.org/research/trends_analysis/pdf/fgge02.pdf.