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  Press Release



Etta Jenkins
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2580


Anne Focke
Executive Director
Grantmakers in the Arts
(206) 624-2312

The Foundation Center and Grantmakers in the Arts Announce New Benchmark Study on Arts Funding Trends

Foundation Arts Funding Totals an Estimated $4.05 Billion in 2002,
Down Slightly from Record $4.2 Billion in 2001

New York, NY, June 9, 2003—The Foundation Center and Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) announce the release of Arts Funding IV: An Update on Foundation Trends, the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis available of foundation giving patterns for arts, culture, humanities, and media. The study includes estimates of overall foundation funding for the arts and finds that grantmakers' support decreased 3.5 percent to an estimated $4.05 billion in 2002, after peaking at an estimated $4.2 billion in 2001. This modest reduction in foundation arts giving came at a time when some feared deep cuts in support in the wake of the stock market crash, the events of September 11, 2001, and the failure of the economy to stage a rebound.

"Most fields are experiencing reductions in foundation support, and the arts field is no exception," noted Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center and principal author of the report. A sluggish economy and three consecutive years of stock market declines have chipped away at the tremendous gains in foundation resources reported in the late 1990s. "Arts organizations are facing the toughest fundraising climate in a decade. At the same time, it's important to keep in mind that estimated foundation arts giving in 2002 totaled only slightly less than the record giving level of 2001."

Report Documents Trends in Foundation Arts Giving

Arts Funding IV principally focuses on trends in foundation arts grantmaking through 2001 based on an analysis of grants of $10,000 or more awarded by a sample of over 1,000 of the nation's largest private and community foundations. The report also compares recent changes in foundation funding with other sources of public and private support, examines changes in giving for specific arts disciplines, analyzes giving patterns by region, and explores shifts in the types of support funders award.

Among key findings from the report:

Giving for arts and culture grew faster than overall giving between 1995 and 1998, but slower between 1998 and 2001. Factors propelling the overall growth in foundation grant dollars in the late 1990s included the strong economy and stock market, which raised the value of existing foundation endowments, increased the size of bequests, and encouraged living donors to make substantial new gifts to their foundations. The U.S. foundation community also benefited from a record level of new foundation creation.

Arts funding accounted for 11.8 percent of overall foundation grant dollars in 2001, compared to 14.9 percent in 1998 and 12 percent in 1995. Despite these fluctuations, the share of number of grants supporting arts and culture remained fairly consistent at 14 to 15 percent. This suggests that foundations in the sample maintained a steady commitment to the arts. Still, the median or "typical" arts grant remained unchanged during this period, while the median grant overall increased.

Close to nine out of ten foundations in the sample supported the arts in 2001, up from roughly eight out of ten in 1995. Only the fields of education and human services reported higher rates of grantmaker participation.

Museum Activities received the largest share of grant dollars in the 2001 sample (34 percent), followed by Performing Arts (30 percent). Funding for museum programs also grew faster than performing arts support between 1995 and 2001. Art museums accounted for by far the largest share of museum funding in 2001, followed by multipurpose museums (e.g., the Smithsonian Institution). Among performing arts subcategories, music/orchestras led by share of arts grant dollars in the latest year, followed by performing arts centers and theater.

Arts Funding Resources

Arts Funding IV was prepared by the Foundation Center with the support and collaboration of GIA. "Highlights" of Arts Funding IV can be accessed at no charge from the Researching Philanthropy area of the Foundation Center's Web site. The full Arts Funding IV report can be purchased at the Foundation Center's online Marketplace.

Publication of Arts Funding IV comes during Funding for Arts Month, a Foundation Center-wide initiative spanning the month of June that features a range of special programs, new resources, and Web site content focused on giving to nonprofit arts organizations and artists. Visit for schedules of events, listings of publications, and information on other resources.


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.


Grantmakers in the Arts aims to strengthen the field of private sector arts and culture grantmaking so that the field, in turn, can increase and improve support for arts and culture. In a changing philanthropic sector that faces new and unprecedented challenges, a strong voice for arts and culture is needed. Since its founding in 1985, GIA has been the only national organization focusing on philanthropy in arts and culture. Its programs and services include publications, research, communication services, and convening, including an annual conference. GIA's core members are private, community, corporate, family foundations, and regranting organizations that make arts and culture grants. Membership also includes public arts agencies and individual donors who give through organizations eligible for membership.

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