Average Grant Sizes Increased in 2016, Foundation Source Finds

Average Grant Sizes Increased in 2016, Foundation Source Finds

Grants awarded in 2016 by Foundation Source clients were, on average, approximately 3 percent larger than in 2015, a report from the provider of foundation support services finds.

Based on data from 883 Foundation Source clients, the 2017 Report on Grantmaking (10 pages, PDF) found that the average grant size awarded by foundations increased from $5,900 to $6,000 for foundations with assets of less than $1 million; from $8,500 to $8,900 for foundations with assets of between $1 million and $10 million; and from $21,300 to $21,700 for foundations with assets of more than $10 million. In addition, the report found that the number of grants awarded rose slightly among midsize and large foundations, and fell slightly among small foundations.

The report also suggests that foundation donors view the 5 percent minimum distribution requirement as a floor rather than a ceiling, with Foundation Source clients of all sizes exceeding the requirement. On average, the smallest foundations — those with less than $1 million in assets — distributed a larger percentage of their assets (13.2 percent) than those with assets between $1 million and $10 million (8.3 percent) or those with assets of more than $10 million (6.9 percent). The smallest foundations also were more likely than the largest to make general purpose grants as opposed to grants for a specific program.

"Despite their modest size, these foundations remain an impressively dynamic segment of the philanthropic community," said Foundation Source chief philanthropic officer Page Snow. "They grant well above the federally mandated 5 percent minimum distribution requirement, supplying critical operational support to nonprofits as well as funding for their specific programs."

"Foundation Source Releases 2017 Report on Grantmaking." Foundation Source Press Release 07/26/2017.