Corporate Foundations Gave a Record $3.6 Billion
New Foundation Center Report Shows
Despite Growth of Sector, Finding Corporate Funding Challenges Many Nonprofits—New Online Search Service Helps Grantseekers Identify Corporate Grantmakers
NEW YORK, NY—June 8, 2006. Giving by corporate foundations rose to a record $3.6 billion in 2005, according to Key Facts on Corporate Foundations, a new summary report released by the New York City-based Foundation Center. A majority of surveyed foundation leaders project continued growth in 2006, although a substantial minority anticipates reduced giving. The release of the report coincides with the launch of the Center’s new Corporate Giving Online, a searchable database that enables grantseekers and other researchers to access a wealth of timely information on corporations, their giving vehicles, corporate grants, and in-kind gifts.
Key Facts on Corporate Foundations highlights in one place the Foundation Center’s latest research on the size, scope, and giving interests of the nation’s corporate foundation community. The report’s key findings include:
- Nearly 2,600 corporate foundations gave an estimated $3.6 billion in 2005, up 5.8 percent from $3.4 billion in 2004.
- Corporate foundations lag behind independent and community foundations by rate of growth in giving.
- Corporate foundations accounted for 11% of all foundation giving, second only to independent foundations—but down from 17% in 1987.
- More than half of corporate foundations surveyed expect to increase giving in 2006, while roughly one-third anticipate reductions.
- Among funding priorities, corporate foundations targeted half of their giving to education (26%) and public affairs/social benefit (24%), including support for community development, federated funds and other philanthropy, public affairs, and civil rights.
Findings from Key Facts on Corporate Foundations come from the Foundation Center’s tracking of fiscal and programmatic information on 80,000+ foundations, corporations, and public charities; annual surveys of leading grantmakers; and analyses of the giving patterns of the nation’s nearly 1,200 largest foundations. The report can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center’s web site.
“At $3.6 billion, corporate foundation giving represents a small but critical component of overall corporate philanthropy,” said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center. “Unlike corporations’ direct charitable support, it’s transparent and provides the only consistent window into corporate funding patterns. Despite accounting for a smaller share of overall foundation giving since the late 1980s, corporate foundation giving remains an essential resource for the nation’s nonprofits.”
Center Unveils New Search Service for Corporate Giving
Between 1996 and 2004, the number of U.S. nonprofits grew by more than half. This growth has raised the stakes for fundraising and is driving organizations to be more creative about finding funding sources. At the same time, businesses have been increasing their philanthropic profile, seeking new ways to contribute to their communities while enhancing their image.
Earlier this month the Foundation Center unveiled an online search service, Corporate Giving Online, which for the first time enables grantseekers and other researchers to easily locate corporate giving sources.
The service offers current, detailed information on more than 2,700 company-sponsored foundations and nearly 1,400 direct corporate giving programs. Corporate Giving Online was designed to provide a variety of flexible options to search for current information on companies, their grantmaking organizations, and their grants and other types of gifts, including in-kind donations.
The service is available through monthly, annual, and two-year subscriptions at cgonline.foundationcenter.org. It is also available for free public use at the Center’s five regional libraries in New York, Atlanta, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
“The world of corporate giving has long been a challenge for nonprofits to penetrate,” said Lynn Christie, vice president for business development at the Foundation Center. “With this new service, a development director for a music education organization in San Francisco can search online for corporate funders that have supported music education in her area in the past. Or, a fundraiser searching for seed money for an open space project can zero in on the right staff person to contact within a home building supply company’s community affairs department for a donation of lumber.”
According to Joyce Infante, senior vice president for institutional advancement at the Foundation Center, both the report and the new online service reflect the Foundation Center’s ongoing commitment to encouraging greater transparency within the philanthropic sector with the aim of creating greater understanding of philanthropy’s contributions to society, increased access for grantseekers and other stakeholders in the field, and more accountability by the sector as a whole.
“The Foundation Center was established 50 years ago at a time when foundation philanthropy was little understood,” Infante said. “Our hope is to shine more light on all forms of giving—including corporate grantmaking—so the process of securing support is demystified and democratized for nonprofits.”
About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants and conducts research on trends in foundation growth and giving. It also operates education and outreach programs that help nonprofit organizations obtain the resources they need. More than 37,000 people visit the Center’s web site each day, and thousands more are served in its five regional learning centers and through its national network of more than 250 Cooperating Collections. For more information, visit foundationcenter.org or call 212-620-4230.
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