Foundation grantmaking seems to be stablizing, according to the State of Grantseeking Spring 2011 report that PhilanTech and GrantStation recently released.
While the information in that survey was drawn from grantseekers (nonprofits and other entities that are recipients of grants), new figures just published by the Foundation Center suggest that giving decreased in 2010, though it decreased less than it had the previous two years. Reflecting a sense of cautious optimism, a slight majority of foundations expect their giving to increase in 2011.
A few numbers:
- Corporate foundation giving increased 0.2% in 2010. When adjusted for inflation, corporate foundation giving actually decreased by 1.6%;
- The amount of corporate foundation giving - $4.7 billion - is virtually unchanged for the past couple of years;
- 52% of corporate foundations expect their giving to increase in 2011;
- Community foundation giving overall decreased 2.1%, following a 7.1% decrease the previous year;
- Interestingly, community foundations reported a median increase of 2.5%;
- While community foundation giving dropped from a high of $4.5 billion in 2008 to $4 billion in 2010, 50% of community foundations expect giving to increase in 2011, while an additional 16% predict that their giving will remain steady;
- Community foundations represent the fastest-growing segment of foundation giving (adjusted for inflation) since 2000 (49% growth, compared to 24% for corporate foundations and 20% for independent foundations).
Both community foundations and corporate foundations currently account for approximately 10% of total foundation giving (with operating foundations accounding for another tenth, and independent foundations comprising the balance of foundation giving at approximately 70%).
Given that independent foundations are the largest segment of foundation grant funds by quite a margin, it's difficult envisioning a return to pre-recession giving levels until foundation assets have recovered. The good news is that foundation assets increased 5% in 2010; the bad news is that, at $621 billion, they are still quite shy of the pre-recession high of $682 billion. With the rolling three-year average used by most private foundations to determine the 5% required annual expenditure, we may yet be in for a couple of years of recovery before foundation giving fully returns.