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  Press Release


Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415
Emma Mackinnon
Fenton Communications
(212)584-5000 ext.327




New York, NY — October 25, 2006. Estimated giving by California foundations rose in 2005 to a record $4.11 billion, and a survey of leading foundations projects that their giving will grow faster in 2006, according to a report released today by the Foundation Center. California foundations also maintained consistent, albeit modest, growth in annual giving throughout the economic downturn of the early 2000s, unlike foundations nationally.

Key findings from California Foundations: An Update on the State's Grantmaking Community include:

  • California foundation giving rose an estimated 1.5% from $4.05 billion in 2004 to $4.11 billion in 2005.
  • California-based recipients received an estimated $4.43 billion in support from foundations nationally in 2005, representing 13.2% of the $33.6 billion in overall foundation giving.
  • The number of California foundations grew by almost half — 48% — between 1999 and 2004, far surpassing the 35% growth nationally.
  • Most California foundation grants (72%) went to California recipients.
  • Health remained the top funding priority of California foundations.

"The California foundation community has shown remarkable resilience over the past several years," said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center and the report's author. "During a period marked by the tech sector downturn, the number of California foundations grew by almost half, a new multi-billion-dollar foundation was established, and overall giving continued to grow."

California foundations were unquestionably affected by the technology sector downturn and overall economic decline that marked the start of the 2000s. Following the late 1990s boom, a period of double-digit growth in California foundation assets and giving, the state's foundations realized far more modest gains. Nonetheless, growth in California foundation giving between 1999 and 2004 surpassed the increase in the Gross State Product during this period (40% vs. 31%).

"California continues to grow in importance as a center of U.S. foundation philanthropy," said James M. Ferris, director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California and a contributor to the study.

"Since the publication of our first report on California foundations six years ago, California nonprofits have had to contend with many economic changes and national and global events that have affected charitable contributions," said Janet Camarena, director of the Foundation Center's regional center in San Francisco. "This updated report will serve as a valuable knowledge-building resource for our region's nonprofit executives."

Prepared by the Foundation Center in collaboration with The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, the report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of private and community foundations in California. As a companion to the California Foundations report, The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy has prepared California Foundations 2004: Trends and Patterns, a report mapping Foundation Center data on California foundation resources and giving patterns to regions and counties. This report is also being released today. Support for both of these studies was provided by The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Highlights of the report are available for free download at the Gain Knowledge area of the Center's web site. The full report can be purchased online ($24.95).

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 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 — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. Its web site receives more than 40,000 visits each day, and thousands more are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of more than 280 Cooperating Collections. For more information, visit or call 212-620-4230.

About The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy
The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy promotes more effective philanthropy and strengthens the nonprofit sector through research that informs philanthropic decision making and public policy to advance public problem solving. Using California and the West as a laboratory, the Center conducts research on philanthropy, volunteerism, and the role of the nonprofit sector in America's communities.

In order to make the research a catalyst for understanding and action, the Center encourages communication among the philanthropic, nonprofit, and policy communities. This is accomplished through a series of convenings and conversations around research findings and policy issues to help key decision makers work together more effectively to solve public problems and to identify strategies for action.

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