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  Press Release



Steven Lawrence,
Director of Research

(212) 807-2410
October 2002

Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
(212) 807-2415


Foundation Center Releases Update on Funding for Children and Youth

Grant Dollars for Children and Youth More than Double Since 1996


October 1, 2002. New York City. The Foundation Center has just released a special Children and Youth Funding Update. This brief report provides an overview of the growth of foundation funding for children and youth from 1996 to 2001 and compares this growth to the record increases in overall foundation giving during this period. It also explores changes in foundation giving for children and youth by purpose, presents breakdowns of funding for subsets of children and youth, and examines giving for children and youth by type of support and funder and recipient locations.

"Over the past decade, U.S. foundations have targeted increasing shares of their giving to the needs of children and youth," noted Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center. "This report documents the factors that have propelled this growth."

The Children and Youth Funding Update was created by the Foundation Center's research staff to recognize "Funding for Children and Youth Month," a Foundation Center-wide event spanning the month of October that will feature a wide range of special programs, new resources, and Web site content focused on funding for children and youth.

Children and Youth Funding Update Estimates Overall Foundation Support

The new report includes estimates of overall foundation giving for children and youth from 1996 to 2001. Among key findings:

  • Overall Growth of Funding for Children and Youth. U.S. grantmaking foundations directed an estimated $4.46 billion specifically to benefit children and youth in 2001, more than double the $2.09 billion reported in 1996. Adjusted for inflation, giving for children and youth rose by close to nine-tenths since 1996-up 87.7 percent or 13.4 percent per year. Growth in estimated giving for children and youth slightly outpaced increases in overall giving by U.S. foundations during this period.

  • Key Factors Influencing Gains in Funding for Children and Youth. Helped by a strong economy, booming stock market, and record levels of foundation creation between 1996 and 2000, grantmakers steadily increased the amount of giving they provided to serve children and youth. This growth continued in 2001, despite the stock market decline, the onset of a recession, and fallout from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Funding by a few new and newly large foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (WA), David and Lucile Packard Foundation (CA), and California Endowment (CA), and increases in support from key funders, such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation (MD) and Ford Foundation (NY), helped to further boost giving in the first two years of the new century.

Analysis Maps Trends in Foundation Giving for Children and Youth

The Children and Youth Funding Update also examines trends in foundation giving for children and youth between 1996 and 2000 based on grants of $10,000 or more awarded by a sample of over 1,000 of the nation's largest foundations. Grants were coded for children and youth whenever population groups ranging in age from infants to 19-year-olds were named in the grant description or when the recipient organization's mission included serving or representing the interests of children and youth. Grants for the general support of institutions that serve broad public interests (e.g., community centers) were not included as support for special population groups, although multiple target audiences may have derived a benefit. Among key findings:

  • Growth in Giving for Children and Youth Among Sampled Foundations. In 2000, the more than 1,000 foundations included in the latest sample awarded nearly $2.5 billion for children and youth, up by more than two and one-fifth times (121.8 percent) from $1.1 billion in 1996. Over the same period, sampled funders increased the number of grants targeting children and youth to 25,162, up by more than two-thirds (67.7 percent) from the 15,008 grants reported four years earlier.

  • Share of Foundation Giving for Children and Youth. U.S. foundation support for children and youth grew steadily throughout most of the 1990s and into 2000, and this population group has consistently benefited from the largest share of foundation support for specific groups. In 2000, foundations in the sample directed a record-high 16.6 percent of their grant dollars and 21.0 percent of their grants to benefit children and youth, up from 15.4 percent of grant dollars and 19.2 percent of grants in 1996.

  • Changes in Giving for Children and Youth by Purpose. Spurred by the many leading health funders, health-related giving serving children and youth jumped close to two and two-thirds times (163.8 percent) between 1996 and 2000. Among health subfields, neonatal health care and public health showed the fastest increases in support. Arts-related giving for children and youth followed, with grant dollars climbing by roughly two and two-fifths times (156.8 percent) in the latest four-year period. Despite this faster growth, Human Services continued to benefit from the largest share of funding for children and youth in 2000 (38.0 percent), followed by Health (25.1 percent) and Education (20.9 percent).

  • Giving for Subsets of Children and Youth. Grants directed to children and youth often target subsets of this population group. For example, just over one-in-three grant dollars for children and youth in the 2000 sample focused specifically on economically disadvantaged children. One-in-eight children and youth grant dollars were also coded for ethnic or racial minorities. Other population groups accounting for at least 3 percent of children and youth grant dollars included the disabled, crime or abuse victims, and children with AIDS.

The complete Children and Youth Funding Update report can be accessed at no charge from the "Researching Philanthropy" area of the Foundation Center's Web site:

"Funding for Children and Youth Month" Programs and Resources

During October, 2002, the Foundation Center is offering a host of special events, customized training programs, and an exciting array of Web site content, all focusing on funding for children and youth. These offerings have been designed by Foundation Center staff, often in partnership with key organizations and leaders, to increase knowledge about the funding research process, and to foster awareness of the latest ideas, activities, and best practices in the field. They also provide unique opportunities to network and build lasting relationships with grantmakers, technical assistance providers, grantseekers, and other stakeholders who work with children and youth. If you work with or for an agency in the field, we invite your participation! Visit focus/youth for schedules of events, listings of publications, and information on other "Funding for Children and Youth Month" resources.

About the Foundation Center

The Foundation Center's mission is to support and improve institutional philanthropy by promoting public understanding of the field and helping grantseekers succeed. To achieve its mission, it: collects, organizes, and communicates information on U.S. philanthropy; conducts and facilitates research on trends in the field; provides education and training on the grantseeking process; and ensures public access to information and services through its World Wide Web site, print and electronic publications, five library/learning centers, and a national network of cooperating collections. Founded in 1956, the Center is the nation's leading authority on institutional philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.

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