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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

foundation news & trendsNews

In this section, we have provided links to selected trend reports and news items pertaining to private foundations. You will also find links to helpful subscription services.


Grantmaking to Remain Flat in 2012

A survey of 174 of the United States’ largest foundations carried out by the Chronicle of Philanthropy indicates that the majority expect their grant making to remain flat for the second year in a row due to ongoing effects of the 2008 stock market crash. In the wake of the 2008 crash, the nation’s 10 largest foundations lost over $25 billion collectively and, due to the slow recovery of the market, have yet to recoup much of that sum. In addition, the ongoing unpredictability of the markets is making it difficult for foundations to plan their 2012-13 budgets and makes them wary of increasing funding while their assets are still recovering. Despite these limitations, foundations report that they are attempting to assist charities in new ways by supplementing cuts in government aid, funding operating reserves, and increasing support of existing programs. Full Article


Foundation Funding and the States’ Budget Crises

The ongoing budget crises affecting states across the Unites States is well known, as are the cuts being made in an attempt to balance state budgets. According to a March 2011 survey by the Foundation Center, these cuts, and the threat of future cuts, are having a wide-ranging impact on foundations’ grantee organizations. Over 90 percent of responding foundations report having grantees who have been impacted by state funding reductions, with at least one-quarter reporting grantees that have been forced to suspend operations or close completely as a result of state cuts. Adding to this grim picture is the prediction of 81 percent of respondents that they expect state budget problems to last to 2013 and beyond.

Despite the fact that replacing funds lost in state budget cuts is beyond the means of any organization, foundations are trying to go beyond traditional funding methods and find new ways to help affected organizations prepare for a prolonged funding shortage. Foundation leaders are focusing on increased general operating and capacity building support, contributing to capital budgets, and increasing advocacy efforts in the community. Full Report


Foundation STUDY reports giving Held steady in 2010

The Foundation Center has released its new Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates (2011 Edition), which can be downloaded at no cost from the Center’s website. Published in April 2011, the study finds that the more than 76,000 grantmaking foundations in the United States gave an estimated $45.7 billion in 2010, an amount virtually unchanged from 2009. It also reports that independent and family foundations, which represent the majority of U.S. foundations, reduced their giving in 2010 by less than 1 percent, to $32.5 billion, while corporate foundation giving held steady at $4.7 billion, and community foundation giving fell 2.1 percent, to $4.1 billion — the first such two-year decline on record.
Findings from the Center’s annual “Foundation Giving Forecast Survey” suggest that foundation giving will grow between 2 percent and 4 percent in 2011, propelling it past the 2008 level. Grantmakers also appear optimistic about 2012. Assuming no unexpected economic strife, foundation giving should realize another modest year-over-year gain.

The report’s giving projections are based on a survey of 1,141 large and midsize foundations as well as the latest data available on foundation giving and assets tracked by the Foundation Center. For additional information about foundation trends, visit the Foundation Center’s Gain Knowledge resource, where the Center’s November 2010 report, Moving Beyond the Economic Crisis: Foundations Assess the Impact and Their Response, is also available. For further details, see the Foundation Center press release and related coverage in the Philanthropy News Digest.


international Foundation Giving Held steady in 2009

A new report from the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations finds that foundation giving for international purposes totaled $6.7 billion in 2009, down only 4 percent from 2008. The report also tracked trends in international giving from 2006 through 2008. In 2008, U.S.-based international programs received approximately two-thirds of the grant dollars awarded by the sampled foundations, while overseas recipients received roughly a third of the remaining dollars. Health captured the largest share (39 percent) of international support, followed by international development (21 percent), and the environment (17 percent). For further details see the Philanthropy News Digest’s coverage and the Foundation Center’s December 13, 2010 press release.


Debating foundation immortality

Ray D. Madof, professor at Boston College Law School and author of Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American Dead, relates a short history of foundation giving in the United States and asks whether we should “abandon the idea that foundations can live forever and require them to spend all their assets within a certain time after their founder’s death.” For the full essay and related comments, see Madof’s October 31, 2010 Opinion piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.




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