Foundations Likely to Increase Giving in 2011, According to Foundation Center Survey
Foundation Operations Have Stabilized in the Wake of Widespread Disruption
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Director of Research
The Foundation Center
New York, NY -- November 18, 2010. Giving by U.S. foundations is poised for modest overall growth in 2011, after remaining flat in 2010. But it may take several years for giving to match the peak level recorded in 2008, according to estimates reported by the Foundation Center in Moving Beyond the Economic Crisis: Foundations Assess the Impact and Their Response.
Foundation operations appear to have stabilized following cuts in staffing, travel, or other operating expenses by a majority of grantmakers. In a sign that foundations may be turning the corner, only 12 percent of respondents to the Center's September 2010 "Foundation Giving Forecast Survey" expect these operational changes to remain in place over the longer term. Among the changes that could persist: funders making fewer site visits to grantees, attending fewer conferences, eliminating print copies of annual reports, and moving to electronic grant applications.
"The foundation community is adapting in our dramatically changed environment," said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center and author of the advisory. "Even though the 2010 economy has been anything but predictable, foundations are working with greater efficiency, holding their giving steady, and a number are planning for growth."
Findings from the new report also indicate that about 40 percent of respondents have made some type of modification to their grantmaking priorities as a result of the economic crisis. However, less than 8 percent expect these to be long-term changes. The priority changes described by respondents range from providing greater support for safety net activities to tightening their grantmaking focus to eliminate funding that falls outside of their existing priority areas.
This Foundation Center research advisory is the latest in a series that has explored the impact of the economic downturn on the nonprofit sector. The advisories are available at the Center's Focus on the Economic Crisis web page, which offers a variety of resources to help nonprofits and foundations deal with the challenging economy. Also available on this page is the Center's interactive map that displays the most recent data available on U.S. foundation support for the crisis, totaling $440 million to date. Moving Beyond the Economic Crisis: Foundations Assess the Impact and Their Response (PDF) can also be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.
About the Survey
In September 2010, the Foundation Center launched a special online update of its annual "Foundation Giving Forecast Survey" and made it available to approximately 5,000 large and mid-size U.S. independent, corporate, and community foundations. The survey included questions on the outlook for foundation giving in 2010 and 2011, changes in their grantmaking priorities and operations, and their response to specific needs created by the economic crisis. A total of 719 foundations provided useable responses as of mid-October 2010. The Center's next Foundation Giving Forecast Survey will be conducted in January 2011, with results released in the April 2011 edition of Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates.
This study was made possible in part by support from The Wallace Foundation. The Foundation Center's Research Institute is funded in part by The Wallace Foundation, which supports and shares effective ideas and practices to help institutions expand learning and enrichment opportunities. To learn more, visit the Knowledge Center at www.wallacefoundation.org.
About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, 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 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.