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  Press Release


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

Josie Atienza
Assistant Director of Research
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-3673

Foundation Giving Grows Across All Program Areas,
Foundation Center Report Finds

Health Tops All Giving Areas for the First Time Ever; Funding for International Affairs/Development/Peace Shows the Fastest Growth

New York, NY — February 28, 2008. The nation's largest foundations increased funding for all major subject areas in 2006, with a record number of exceptionally large grants helping to drive this growth. According to Foundation Giving Trends (2008 Edition), released today by the Foundation Center, six out of 10 fields posted double-digit rates of growth in the latest year, led by the field of international affairs/development/peace, which grew 72.5 percent.

The continued growth of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had a significant influence on the direction of foundation giving in the latest year: most notably, health surpassed education based on the share of grant dollars received, for the first time on record. "We are starting to see the impact of Warren Buffett's unprecedented $31 billion commitment," said Josie Atienza, assistant director of research and the report's principal author. "This has enabled the Gates Foundation to dramatically increase its giving for global health and expand into international development."

Yet the Gates Foundation alone did not drive the latest trends. While grant dollars awarded by sampled foundations rose 16.4 percent overall between 2005 and 2006, they still climbed by a double-digit 11.6 percent with the Gates Foundation excluded and benefited a range of fields beyond health and international development.

Other key findings in the report:

  • International giving overall increased 48.4 percent, driven by strong gains in funding for international affairs/development/peace and health.
  • Foundations awarded a record 386 grants of $5 million or more in 2006.
  • The 16.4 percent growth in grant dollars awarded by sampled foundations in 2006 followed a far more modest 6.1 percent gain in the prior year.
Foundation Giving Trends (2008 Edition) provides a comprehensive analysis of all grants of $10,000 or more awarded by 1,263 of the largest private and community foundations in the United States in 2006 and tracks changes in funding trends since 1997. Grant dollars awarded by these funders totaled $19.1 billion and represented roughly half of overall U.S. foundation giving. The report examines giving by subject focus, recipient type, type of support, population group served, and geographic focus. It also details differences in funding trends by foundation size, region, and type, and includes a brief report on giving in the aftermath of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Foundation Giving Trends is part of the Foundations Today Series of annual research reports on foundation growth and trends in foundation giving.

The Foundation Center will release estimates of 2007 giving by the nation's more than 71,000 private and community foundations in April. The forthcoming report, Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, will also include a discussion of the outlook for foundation giving in 2008 and beyond.

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. The Center's web site receives more than 54,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in the Center's five regional library/learning centers and its national network of over 350 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

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