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  Press Release


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

Steven Lawrence
Senior Director of Research
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2410

Foundation Funding Grew for Most Major Fields,
Foundation Center Report Finds

Grant Dollars for the Environment Grew the Fastest

New York, NY — February 5, 2009. Foundation support for eight of the 10 major subject areas rose in 2007, despite the first signs of an economic downturn in the latter half of the year, according to Foundation Giving Trends (2009 Edition), released today by the Foundation Center. The environment and animals field posted the fastest rise in funding, up 28.5 percent from the prior year — more than double the 13.2 percent rise in overall grant dollars.

"We expect that the commitment of foundations to their missions and grantees will remain strong throughout the current economic crisis, though the size of their grants budgets will in many cases be affected," said Steven Lawrence, senior director of research and the report's principal author.

Among other key findings in the report:

  • Foundations awarded a record 188 grants of $10 million or more in 2007. Of the 10 largest, eight were made by the Gates Foundation, mainly for health-related activities and international development.
  • International giving — which cuts across all areas and includes grants awarded directly to overseas recipients and to U.S.-based international programs — reached a record 23.4 percent of total grant dollars awarded.
  • Among specific populations, the economically disadvantaged benefited from the largest share of grant dollars, rising to a record $5.3 billion.

Foundation Giving Trends (2009 Edition) provides a comprehensive analysis of all of the grants of $10,000 or more awarded by over 1,300 of the largest private and community foundations in the United States in 2007 and tracks changes in funding trends since 1997. Grant dollars awarded by these funders totaled $21.6 billion and represented roughly half of overall giving by U.S. foundations. 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. 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 2008 giving by the nation's more than 72,000 private and community foundations in March. The forthcoming report, Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, will also include a discussion of the outlook for foundation giving in 2009 and beyond.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 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 57,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 400 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions in every U.S. state and beyond. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

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