Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701

New York, NY -- June 7, 2012. Giving by U.S. foundations totaled an estimated $46.9 billion in 2011, surpassing the $46.8 billion pre-recession peak recorded in 2008. Yet, after accounting for inflation, contributions by the nation's more than 76,600 foundations were down slightly from 2010. According to Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates (2012 Edition), released today by the Foundation Center, if the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were excluded from the totals, 2011 giving would actually have gone down by roughly 3 percent after inflation.

Reflecting continued economic volatility in 2011, more than one-third of respondents to the Foundation Center's annual survey indicated that they had reduced their giving last year. Foundation assets were virtually unchanged in 2011 and remain well below their 2007 peak. "Foundations would like to ramp up giving, but that is unlikely to happen absent consistent economic growth," said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center.

Other key 2011 estimates include:

  • Independent and family foundations -- which represent the vast majority of U.S. foundations -- increased their charitable contributions by less than 2 percent to $33.1 billion before inflation.
  • Corporate foundation giving rose 6 percent to $5.2 billion before inflation, surpassing other types of foundations.
  • Community foundation giving declined slightly and totaled $4.2 billion before inflation.

Survey findings suggest that 2012 foundation giving will grow between 1 and 3 percent overall. With inflation averaging just under 3 percent, this suggests that it will remain unchanged at best based on real purchasing power. Survey responses indicate that foundation giving will likely continue to show consistent, albeit very modest, growth in 2013.

About the Foundation Giving Survey

Giving projections for 2011 through 2013 reported in Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates are based on responses to the Foundation Center's 2012 "Foundation Giving Forecast Survey" from 1,077 large and mid-size foundations across the country, combined with year-end economic indicators. Final giving figures for 2011 will be available in early 2013.
Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates (PDF) is accessible at no charge at the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site. To receive future updates on Foundation Center news, sign up here.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.