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  Press Release



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

Foundations Place Higher Priority on Children's Health

New York, N.Y., May 16, 2005—Giving for children's health by the largest U.S. foundations rose by more than 50 percent between 1999 and 2003, according to Foundation Funding for Children's Health, a new report from the New York-based Foundation Center. Actual grant dollars targeted to children for preventing and treating diseases, improving access to health care, providing mental health care, and supporting hospitals and outpatient care, among other purposes, totaled $602.8 million in 2003, up from $390.6 million in 1999. This growth raised the share of overall health giving that specifically benefits children from less than 19 percent to nearly 22 percent.

"Foundations have long understood the critical role that children's physical and emotional health play in determining their ultimate potential," noted Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Center. "Our first-ever study of child health funding clearly shows that this is a growing priority for grantmakers."

Four foundations have consistently dominated children's health funding since the late 1990s, including the Bill & Melinda Gates, Robert Wood Johnson, and David and Lucile Packard foundations and the California Endowment. These funders have also exercised a pronounced influence on grantmaking trends. For example, funding to treat and develop vaccines and cures for specific diseases accounted for the largest share of children's health grant dollars in 2003, followed by support for public health. However, when the Gates and Robert Wood Johnson foundation grants are excluded from the data, support for hospitals and in-patient and outpatient health care represent by far the biggest share of giving, followed by funding for mental health.

The Role of Foundations in Funding Children's Health

Foundation Funding for Children's Health includes an essay on "Child Health: How Grantmakers Are Meeting Current Needs and Investing in the Future." Prepared by Lauren LeRoy, Ph.D., president and CEO, and Anne L. Schwartz, Ph.D., vice president, of Grantmakers In Health, this commentary examines the innovative efforts of private foundations, grantmaking public charities, and corporate funders working to improve children's health.

Trends in Foundation Giving for Children's Health

The new report focuses on trends in grantmaking from 1999 through 2003 based on an analysis of all of the grants of $10,000 or higher awarded by more than 1,000 of the nation's largest private and community foundations. Among these funders, 603 made 3,093 children's health grants in 2003. The report also documents changes in giving for children's health by subfield or discipline, recipient type, funder and recipient location, and type of support. In addition, it provides a ranking of the top 15 U.S. foundations that supported children's health programs in 2003.

Children's Health Funding Resources

Foundation Funding for Children's Health was prepared by the Foundation Center with support from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. The report can be accessed at no charge from the "Researching Philanthropy" area of the Foundation Center's Web site,

Publication of the report comes during Funding for Health Month, a Foundation Center-wide initiative spanning the month of May that features a range of special programs, new resources, and Web site content targeted to nonprofit organizations working in the areas of health and health care.

About the Foundation Center

The Foundation Center's mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector by advancing knowledge about U.S. philanthropy. To achieve its mission, the Center 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 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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