Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415

Steven Lawrence
Senior Director of Research
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2410

New York, NY -- Revised April 22, 2008. America's family foundations gave $16 billion in 2006, a 13 percent increase from the previous year, according to Key Facts on Family Foundations (2008 Revised Edition), released today by the Foundation Center. Since 1998 -- the first year for which statistics on family foundations are available -- giving by these grantmakers has more than doubled. Family foundations also accounted for the bulk of giving by independent foundations overall (59 percent).

"Despite the economic fluctuations since the start of the 2000s, donors and donor families have continued to establish new foundations and build the endowments of their existing foundations," said Steven Lawrence, senior director of research. "We expect these trends to continue to boost family foundation giving for the foreseeable future."

Among other key findings in the report:

  • 67 percent of all family foundations have been established since 1990.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranked as the largest family foundation by giving and assets in 2006.
  • Many family foundations are small, with 48 percent giving less than $50,000 annually.
  • Education was the top funding priority of family foundations located in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, while health accounted for the biggest share among Western family foundations, largely due to the Seattle, WA-based Gates Foundation.

Key Facts on Family Foundations identified 37,800 independent foundations with measurable donor or donor-family involvement. The fact sheet examines giving by recipient type, type of support, population group served, and geographic location. It also details differences in the size of the boards and staff of family foundations and lists the top 25 family foundations by giving.

Key Facts on Family Foundations can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 54,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in the Center's five regional library/learning centers and its national network of over 370 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

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