Estimated giving by California foundations increased to a record $4.11 billion in 2005, and a survey of leading foundations projects that their overall giving will grow faster in 2006, according to a new report from the New York City-based Foundation Center.
The report, California Foundations: An Update on the State's Grantmaking Community (4 pages, PDF), noted that California-based grant recipients received an estimated $4.43 billion in support from foundations nationally in 2005, or 13.2 percent of the $33.6 billion in overall foundation giving. Most grants from California foundations went to recipients in the state, and health remained the top funding priority for grantmakers. In addition, the report noted that between 1999 and 2004 the number of California foundations grew by 48 percent, far surpassing the national increase of 35 percent.
California foundations were unquestionably affected by the technology sector downturn and overall economic decline that marked the start of the 2000s. Following the boom of the late 1990s — a period of double-digit growth in California foundation assets and giving — the state's foundations realized more modest gains. Nonetheless, growth in California foundation giving between 1999 and 2004 surpassed the increase in the Gross State Product during the period (40 percent vs. 31 percent).
"The California foundation community has shown remarkable resilience over the past several years," said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center and the report's author. "During a period marked by the tech sector downturn, the number of California foundations grew by almost half, a new multi-billion-dollar foundation was established, and overall giving continued to grow."
Prepared by the Foundation Center in collaboration with the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, the report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of private and community foundations in California. As a companion piece to the report, the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy has prepared California Foundations 2004: Trends and Patterns, which maps Foundation Center data on California foundation resources and giving patterns to regions and counties. Support for both studies was provided by the California Endowment, the James Irvine Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
"Since the publication of our first report on California foundations six years ago, California nonprofits have had to contend with many economic changes and national and global events that have affected charitable contributions," said Janet Camarena, director of the Foundation Center's regional center in San Francisco. "This updated report will serve as a valuable knowledge-building resource for our region's nonprofit executives."