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


Josie Atienza
Research Analyst
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-3673

Foundation Center Releases New Report on 2001 Giving Trends


New York, N.Y, February 26, 2003. The Foundation Center has just released the 2003 edition of Foundation Giving Trends: Update on Funding Priorities, the most comprehensive examination available of U.S. foundations' funding interests. The report findings, which document changes in giving priorities between 1980 and 2001, are based on grants awarded by a sample of 1,007 of the largest private and community foundations totaling $16.8 billion, or more than half of overall U.S. foundation giving.

Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center, said of the new study, "Despite the onset of recession and the stock market decline, foundation giving continued to grow in 2001. This report provides an essential resource for understanding how foundations' giving priorities are evolving in this challenging environment."

Key Findings from the Foundation Giving Trends Report

Funding for education grew fastest among major program areas. Giving for education increased 18.9 percent to $4.5 billion in 2001, surpassing other major subject areas and the 11.6 percent overall increase in grant dollars in the sample. Education also continued to account for the largest share of overall foundation support (26.8 percent). Among grants benefiting education was the largest grant ever recorded: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's $400 million award to Stanford University for unrestricted endowment support, as well as to support professorships, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate scholarships and programs.

Support for student aid reached record share. Giving to organizations for student aid grew 77.5 percent in 2001 to $1.9 billion. This raised the share of funding for scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of student aid from 7.1 percent to 11.3 percent of grant dollars-the highest share on record. Close to half of the dollars awarded for student aid funds supported graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, including the Ford Foundation's $275.5 million award to the International Fellowships Fund, while two-fifths supported scholarships for undergraduates.

Children and youth benefited from a record share of grant dollars. Foundations in the sample directed fewer than two out of five of their grant dollars ($6.2 billion) to named population groups in the 2001 sample. Among these grants, children and youth continued to account for the largest share of support-a record 17.9 percent of overall grant dollars, up from 16.6 percent in 2000. The economically disadvantaged retained the second largest share of grant dollars-12.1 percent, down from 16.4 percent in the prior year.

International support lost share, although actual giving was stable. Support for international giving-which includes grants to overseas recipients and funding for international programs in the U.S.-remained almost unchanged at $2.46 billion in 2001. As a share of overall foundation funding in the sample, international giving declined from a record 16.3 percent to 14.7 percent. Yet this share remained well above the 10 percent to 11 percent of grant dollars that targeted international purposes in the 1990s. Giving to overseas recipients decreased from $901.3 million to $770.7 million, while support for U.S.-based international programs increased from $1.5 to $1.7 billion. Among international grants was one of the year's largest award: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $100 million grant to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria for its Global Fund for AIDS and Health.

"Highlights" of Foundation Giving Trends and other Foundation Center research publications can be accessed at no charge from the "Researching Philanthropy" area of the Foundation Center's Web site (

Foundation Giving Trends is part of the annual Foundations Today Series of reports on foundation growth and trends in foundation giving. Other reports in the series include Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, Foundation Yearbook, Foundation Staffing, and Foundation Reporting. The complete series may be purchased at the Foundation Center's online Marketplace (


The Foundation Center's mission is to support and improve 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 philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.

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