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Research Studies: Special Subjects

Our funding trends reports provide the latest data available on every aspect of U.S. foundation philanthropy. Our team of research experts analyzes and interprets the data on foundations that we collect — providing a national data source unique for its scope, depth, and historical value.

Reports available for download are provided in PDF format, which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Recent Reports


Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking

July 2014

Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) have produced two new resources designed to advance knowledge and facilitate strategic decision making in the field of human rights philanthropy. According to Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking, 745 foundations in 34 countries made over 17,000 grants totaling $1.7 billion in human rights funding in 2011. These statistics are brought to life in an interactive website that enables funders, activists, researchers, academics, and others interested in human rights funding to explore giving by issue focus, population focus, and region.

- Read the press release
- Explore the website
- Download the Key Findings


Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement

May 2014

The Foundation Center and the Open Society Foundations’ report Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement is the latest addition to a growing suite of resources at BMAfunders.org, a web portal that facilitates engagement, collaboration, and strategic decision making among those working to promote positive outcomes for black men and boys in America. Based on interviews with 50 leaders in the social, academic, government, and business sectors, the report maps the landscape of work in this area and offers recommendations for what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free
- Visit BMAfunders.org


Foundation Funding to Address Domestic Violence in California

April 2014

Foundation Funding to Address Domestic Violence in California, supported by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, is the first-ever examination of philanthropy’s contribution to the field of domestic violence. Using data from the Foundation Center’s research database, the report provides a landscape analysis to inform community organizations, funders, government agencies, and other stakeholders working to improve prevailing statistics that show one in three women will experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in her lifetime.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States

November 2013

According to Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States, foundation support for media is growing at nearly four times the rate of domestic giving in other areas, with 1,012 foundations making 12,040 media-related grants totaling $1.86 billion 2009-2011. The report, produced in collaboration with Media Impact Funders and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, provides a chronological view of media-related funding across organization types and examines five areas of focus: journalism, news, and information; media access and policy; media applications and tools; media platforms; and telecommunications infrastructure. It is part of a larger project that includes an interactive data visualization tool and knowledge center.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free
- Explore the data mapping tool Free
- Visit the knowledge center Free


Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better

November 2013

Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Betterg Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better is the product of research conducted jointly with the Monitor Institute. This report helps funders learn about the different phases of collaboration and online tools that can help them advance all types of sharing, coordination, and cooperation. The research included an extensive literature review on collaboration in philanthropy, detailed analyses of trends from a Foundation Center survey of the largest U.S. foundations, interviews with 37 leading philanthropy professionals and technology experts, and a review of more than 170 online tools. A companion “interactive tool finder” aids the search for technology solutions.

- Read the press release
- Download the key findings Free
- Download the full report Free
- Explore the GrantCraft interactive tool finder Free


Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking

June 2013

Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking Every year foundations around the world are funding efforts to ensure that the rights of all people are honored and protected. Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking, prepared by the Foundation Center and the International Human Rights Funders Group, identifies foundations in 29 countries funding human rights work in every region of the world. Their support totaled $1.2 billion in 2010, reached more than 6,800 unique organizations, and funded activities such as ensuring the right to peaceful assembly and to education.

- Read the press release
- Download the report and infographic


Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys

October 2012

Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys Nearly every major indicator of economic, social, and physical well-being shows that black men and boys in the U.S. do not have access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive. Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys documents the wide variety of philanthropic activity directed toward black males. The research reveals that annual funding designated for this group has been rising steadily, from $10 million in 2003 to $29 million in 2010 and that education is a top funding priority.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Foundation Funding for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

March 2012

Foundation Funding for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Foundation Funding for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene finds that between 2003 and 2010 the number of active WASH funders tripled, and the number of organizations receiving their grants — totaling $144 million in 2009-2010 — increased five-fold. While WASH funding as a proportion of international grantmaking overall has grown from 0.2 percent in 2003, it remains very small (1.7 percent in 2010). This research brief looks at the role of foundation funding in addressing a global crisis, complementing the Foundation Center's WASHfunders.org custom web portal.


- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Foundation Funding for Hispanics/Latinos

December 2011

Foundation Funding for Hispanics/Latinos Foundation Funding for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States and for Latin America finds that over the past decade foundation giving explicitly designated to benefit Hispanics and Latinos has remained virtually unchanged, even as the Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown significantly over the same period. The first study of its kind, the report examines foundation giving in the United States by funder type, issue area, geographic area, and type of support, and in Latin America by issue area.


- Read the press release
- Download the report Free in English | en español
- Read an important clarification about the findings
  February 2012


Diminishing Dollars for Social Justice Philanthropy

November 2011

Diminishing Dollars for Social Justice Philanthropy Diminishing Dollars: The Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on the Field of Social Justice Philanthropy finds that a small but important subset of grantmakers — those who work on issues ranging from human rights to environmental justice — has been disproportionately impacted by the global financial crisis and their recovery remains in jeopardy. The report examines historical trends, describes strategies used by foundations to cope with depleted assets, and presents projections through 2015.


- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Arts Funding Snapshot: GIAís Annual Research on Support for Arts and Culture

October 2011

Arts Funding Snapshot: GIAís Annual Research on Support for Arts and Culture Foundation funding for arts and culture declined faster than overall foundation giving in 2009, according to a special report prepared by the Foundation Center for Grantmakers in the Arts. Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture: A One-year Snapshot identifies top funders and includes analyses by subject, types of support, and grant size.


- Download the report Free



Key Facts on Mission Investing

October 2011

More foundations are using their investment assets to achieve their missions, according to Key Facts on Mission Investing, which finds that one-in-seven surveyed foundations are employing market-rate mission-related investments and/or below-market-rate program-related investments to achieve a social benefit. More than half of those making mission-related investments began doing so within the past five years.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Foundation Leaders Address the State Budget Crises

September 2011

Nearly ninety percent of America's largest foundations report that at least some of the nonprofit organizations they support have been severely affected by state budget cuts. One-quarter report having grantees that have been forced to suspend operations. Foundation Leaders Address the State Budget Crises is the latest report in a series based on surveys of our Grantmaker Leadership Panel and also includes an essay, "How Grantmakers Can Respond to the State Budget Crises," by Doug Bauer, executive director of New York's Clark Foundation.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Moving Education Reform Forward: Grantmakers Reflect
on a Convening with State and Local Government
Education Leaders

June 2011

This issue brief provides critical insights into how education grantmakers (and foundations in general) may be able to work more effectively with state and local education leaders. Based on interviews with participants at a national gathering convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers in January 2011, it offers a nuanced assessment of this type of convening, including the challenges that face grantmakers and education leaders in their work to coordinate future efforts effectively.

- Download the report Free


Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding
for Women and Girls

May 2011

This landmark study, Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding for Women and Girls, is the first to examine the scope and distribution of European-based funding for women and girls and to note the gap that exists between European foundations' stated interests and their actual engagement. It finds that 37 percent of surveyed European foundations actively supported programs that benefit women and girls in 2009, but that 90 percent of the same foundations express an interest in issues related to this population group.

- Read the press release
- Download the highlights Free
- Download the full report Free


Foundation Funding for Native American Issues
and Peoples

May 2011

Over the past decade, U.S. foundation support benefiting Native Americans declined from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent of total foundation giving. According to Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples, total grant dollars targeting Native Americans dropped 30.8 percent in the latest year, compared to a 14.1 percent overall downturn in foundation giving. This report was prepared by the Foundation Center with Native Americans in Philanthropy.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


2010 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report: Key Findings

April 2011

2010 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report: Key Findings The Council on Foundation's annual salary report provides the most comprehensive information available on the composition and compensation of U.S. private and public foundations and corporate giving programs. This report was prepared in cooperation with the Foundation Center, which conducted the analysis.

- Download the report Free





Online Grant Applications and Reporting: Practical Wisdom and Recommendations for Grantmakers, In the Words of a Grantseeker

April 2011

Online Grant Applications and Reporting: Practical Wisdom and Recommendations for Grantmakers, In the Words of a Grantseeker This report provides insights into a grantseeker's perspective on current online application and reporting requirements and mechanisms, highlighting the technical and structural challenges encountered by fundraising staff. It analyzes the formats and accessibility of application forms, quantity and quality of instructional information and grantseeker assistance, and variations and inconsistencies in procedures, questions, and requirements among sixty-six of the Foundation Center's funders. The report offers recommendations for best practices in online system design that would help streamline application and reporting processes, including the adoption of common standards.

- Download the report Free



Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking

April 2011

According to Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking (2011 Edition), social justice giving accounted for more than 14 percent of grant dollars awarded by the largest U.S. foundations in 2009. The top 25 social justice funders gave 70 percent of the total in the latest Foundation Center's annual grants sample.

- Download the report Free




Foundation Management Series
Governance and Administrative Expenses: Key Findings

December 2010

Governance and Administrative Expenses: Key Findings The Council on Foundation's biennial management series enables grantmakers
to benchmark their board composition and compensation, administrative and investment expenses, and fiscal oversight practices against similar funders. These reports were prepared in cooperation with the Foundation Center, which conducted
the analyses.

- Download the report Free



Key Facts on Foundationsí Public Policy-related Activities

December 2010

The Foundation Centerís first report benchmarking the level of engagement of U.S. foundations in policy-related activities reflects an increase in grantmaker support for research, public education, and resources to policymakers in recent years. Key Facts on Foundationsí Public Policy-related Activities finds that one-quarter of the more than 1,300 foundations that responded to a survey either fund or are engaged in such activities, with larger foundations far more likely to participate than smaller ones. In fact, more than half of those who engage in public policy-related activities increased their levels of support over the last five years.

- Download the report Free

Foundation Leaders Divided on Legislation, Survey Finds

October 2010

Our second in a series of Foundation Center reports based on a survey of our Grantmaker Leadership Panel documents the opinions of this group about recent legislative efforts in California and Florida regarding the public disclosure of private foundation practices related to diversity. On balance, these individuals tend to have unfavorable opinions of both initiatives, and because the initiatives sought opposite goals, those who supported one of the laws tended to disapprove of the other. The report also gauges the surveyed leaders' opinions on three recent or current field-building initiatives and two published reports on philanthropic practice.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free

Are Foundation Leaders Using Social Media?

September 2010

Are Foundation Leaders Using Social Media? Our recent survey finds that about one-third of foundation CEOs regularly use Facebook or read blogs, and only six percent use Twitter. Are Foundation Leaders Using Social Media? documents the usage of social media tools by foundation executives based on survey responses from 73 members of the Center's Grantmaker Leadership Panel.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free



Doing Good with Foundation Assets:
An Updated Look at Program-related Investments

Revised June 2010

Doing Good with Foundation Assets For four decades U.S. foundations have had the ability to make below-market-rate investments in activities consistent with their missions and count these investments as part of their annual charitable distributions. Of the nation's more than 75,000 grantmaking foundations, the Foundation Center has tracked 173 private and community foundations that made program-related investments (PRIs) totaling $742 million in 2006 or 2007. While the development of low-cost housing, community development, and microfinance have historically attracted PRIs, there is growing use of PRIs in areas such as education, arts and culture, social and health programs, and environmental sustainability.

- Download the report Free
- Order The PRI Directory


Race to the Top: What Grantmakers Can Learn from the First Round

June 2010

Race to the Top: What Grantmakers Can Learn from the First Round This issue brief documents the experiences of grantmakers, government leaders, and education consultants in states that applied for the U.S. Department of Educationís 2010 "Race to the Top" competition. It offers critical lessons on grantmaker and government collaborations for education reform and beyond.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free



Diversity Metrics Forum: Developing Standards for the Collection of Data on Diversity in Philanthropy

April 2010

Diversity Metrics Forum: Developing Standards for the Collection of Data on Diversity in Philanthropy In recent years, private foundation leaders have found themselves in the national spotlight due to growing public concern about the lack of available data on the diversity of foundation staff and boards, as well as grantee organizations and the communities they serve with the support of philanthropic dollars. This report summarizes the discussions that took place at the Diversity Metrics Forum, which brought together 47 foundation leaders, researchers, and representatives of philanthropic infrastructure organizations to discuss strategies for systematically collecting data on diversity in philanthropy.

- Download the report Free


Earthquake in Haiti: Leading U.S. Foundations
Respond to the Crisis

January 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: Leading U.S. Foundations Respond to the Crisis In the immediate aftermath of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, the Foundation Center surveyed members of its Grantmaker Leadership Panel to gauge the reaction of top U.S. funders to the unfolding crisis. Findings suggest that a number of leading funders are considering a direct response to the crisis, with a primary focus on providing emergency assistance.

- Download the advisory
- Visit Focus on Haiti:
  Earthquake Relief and Recovery


Foundation Funding for Climate Change Reached Nearly $900 Million in 2008, Foundation Center Research Shows

December 2009

As the 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen opens, the Foundation Center has prepared a new research advisory that examines foundation support for climate change. Climate Change: The U.S. Foundation Response finds that foundation funding to address issues related to global warming has grown rapidly, climbing from less than $100 million in 2000 to nearly $900 million in 2008.

- Download the advisory


Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits

October 2009

New York City foundations and nonprofit organizations have racially diverse staffs, according to a new report by Philanthropy New York and the Foundation Center, but this diversity decreases at higher levels of seniority. A substantial number of foundations and nonprofits are tracking information about the racial and ethnic makeup of the grantees and populations that they respectively serve. The study is the first of its kind in New York City and the nation to examine "both sides" of the equation — with survey data from 95 grantmaking foundations and 540 nonprofit organizations in the
five boroughs.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free


Giving in the Aftermath of the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Profile of the Ongoing Foundation and Corporate Response (2007-2009)

August 2009

Private and community foundations awarded an additional $125 million in grant support for recovery and rebuilding efforts from January 2007 to mid-2009. The report reveals shifts in the giving priorities of 112 independent, corporate, and community foundations that provided new or ongoing support in the January 2007 to mid-2009 period. Economic and community development captured the largest share of support dollars (24 percent), whereas in the immediate aftermath the largest share was committed to human services relief.

- Read the press release
- Download the report Free
- Visit the "Focus on Gulf Coast Hurricane Relief" portal


Building Diversity: A Survey of California Foundation Demographics, Policies and Practices

August 2009

A new Foundation Center report shows that people of color make up more than 40 percent of the staff of independent California foundations surveyed, and most (57 percent) are tracking the demographic composition of the populations served by their grantmaking. Nearly one quarter of chief executives hired since 2001 have been people of color. This is the second study commissioned by Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers to provide an overview of diversity in philanthropy in the state. The first, Embracing Diversity: Foundation Giving Benefiting California's Communities of Color, was released in June 2008.

- Download the report (PDF) Free
- Download the survey


Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women's Funds

June 2009

The first of its kind, this report by the Foundation Center and the Women's Funding Network examines giving patterns and trends among larger private and community foundations and the distinctive contributions of women's funds to philanthropy. Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women's Funds finds that foundation giving targeted to benefit women and girls climbed 223 percent between 1990 and 2006 (after adjusting for inflation), compared to an overall giving increase of 177 percent.

- Read the press release
- Download the Highlights (PDF)
- Order the report


Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?

April 2009

The first large-scale examination of foundation lifespan planning, this study benchmarks the intentions, practices and attitudes of nearly 1,100 active family foundations in 2008. Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide? reports that while existing in perpetuity continues to be the norm for the majority of existing family foundations, a small segment (12 percent) plan to limit their lifespan or are in the process of spending down, and a quarter are currently undecided. The study also examines the impact of foundation characteristics — e.g., size, age, staffing, and location — on lifespan planning options.

- Read the press release
- Download the Highlights (PDF)
- Download the report (PDF) Free
- Download the surveys


Embracing Diversity: Foundation Giving Benefiting Californiaís Communities of Color

June 2008

A new analysis of grantmaking by 50 of the stateís largest independent foundations finds that at least 39 percent of California-focused grants benefited populations of color. According to Embracing Diversity: Foundation Giving Benefiting California's Communities of Color, in 2005 alone, these 50 California-based foundations awarded a minimum of 2,700 grants totaling nearly $300 million to support health, education, social services, and other programs that serve ethnically or racially diverse populations.

- Download the report (PDF) Free


Proceedings From the First Annual Researcher/Practitioner Forum: The State of Research on Diversity in Philanthropy

May 2008

This report summarizes the discussions that took place at the first annual Researcher/Practitioner Forum which was held on September 27 and 28, 2007 at El Pomar Foundationís Penrose House conference facilities in Colorado Springs, CO. The Forum was co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations, ARNOVA and the Foundation Center and was made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. The first annual Researcher/Practitioner Forum brought together 25 researchers and foundation representatives to discuss the state of research on diversity in philanthropy.

- Download the report (PDF) Free


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Report Archive


Vital Signs: Arts Funding in the Current Economy

Vital Signs: Arts Funding in the Current Economy

October 2010
- Download the report


Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking

Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking

April 2010
- Download the report


Key Facts on Social Justice Grantmaking

Social Justice Grantmaking II

July 2009
- Read the press release

- Order the report


Vital Signs: Arts Funding in the Current Economy

Vital Signs: Arts Funding in the Current Economy

July 2009
- Download the report


Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture: A One-year Snapshot and Government Funding for the Arts

Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture: A One-year Snapshot and Public Funding for the Arts

September 2008
- View Reports


More Than Grantmaking

More Than Grantmaking: A First Look at Foundations' Direct Charitable Activities

November 2007
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Spotlight on Arts Grantmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area

Spotlight on Arts Grantmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area

October 2007
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes

Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Update on the Foundation and Corporate Response

August 2007
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes

Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation and Corporate Response

August 2006
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Foundation Funding for Arts Education

October 2005
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Social Justice Grantmaking

September 2005
- Read the press release
- View the highlights
- Order the book


Foundation Funding for Children's Health

May 2005
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Spotlight on Health Grantmaking in Ohio

April 2005
- Download the report


Giving in the Aftermath of 9/11: Final Update on the Foundation and Corporate Response

January 2005
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Foundation Funding for the Humanities

June 2004
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Spotlight on Arts Grantmaking in Ohio

June 2004
- Download the report


Update on Health Policy Grantmaking

March 2004
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Health Policy Research and Foundation Grantmaking

March 2004
- Download the report

Spotlight on Ohio's New Health Foundations

March 2004
- Read the press release
- Download the report


9/11 Relief and Regranting Funds

December 2003
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Update on Funding for Higher and Graduate Educational Institutions

October 2003
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Arts Funding IV

June 2003
- Read the press release
- Download report highlights
- Order the report


Children and Youth Funding Update

October 2002
- Read the press release
- Download the report


Assessing the Post-9/11 Funding Environment: Grantmakersí Perspectives

September 2002
- Read the press release
- Download the report

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