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Charity dollars from U.S. Foundations topped $50.9 billion last year

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to a report released by the Foundation Center. donations in the United States by private and community foundations reached an estimated $50.9 billion in 2012, growing just ahead of inflation. The report was primarily about a 2011 survey of foundations, but did include the limited projection for 2012.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The country's 81,777 foundations held $622 billion in assets and distributed $49 billion in 2011. This figure was just below $1.9 billion below 2012's estimate, according to the Foundation Center's annual research study.

"The outlook for 2013 is for continued modest growth overall," Steven Lawrence, the Foundation Center's director of research and author of the report says.

"It may not be the boom years of the late 1990s or mid-2000s, but the good news is that it looks like U.S. foundations will continue to provide a stable source of support for new ideas and ongoing programs that improve lives around the world," Lawrence added.

Thirty-five percent of all grant dollars awarded in 2011, from the nation's largest foundations went specifically to benefit the economically disadvantaged. The report also proved that health and education were the top priorities of the country's largest foundations, accounting for almost half of all grant dollars.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the single largest grant of $967 million over five years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

"Foundations have been a critical source of stability for the non-profit sector throughout the economic downturn and in this period of economic recovery. We have not yet seen a return to double-digit growth, but foundation funding continues to be much less susceptible to cyclical economic changes than other sources of giving," Lawrence says.

There were approximately 58,000 unique recipient organizations in 2011. The top one percent, close to 580 organizations, captured half of all grant dollars.

The health sector benefited the most from foundation giving, receiving $6.8 billion, or 28 percent, of the $24.5 billion awarded in grants in 2011.

Education was in second place, receiving $5 billion. Arts and culture received $3.5 billion, tying with human services which drew $3.5 billion.

According to the report, $8.5 billion or 35 percent of the grant money, was focused on the economically disadvantaged. Children and youth received $5.3 billion, ethnic or racial minorities received $2.2 billion, while women and girls received $1.4 billion.

The Gates Foundation remains the largest in the country with $34.6 billion in assets, was the biggest donor in 2011 giving $3.2 billion. It has also been the top international funder since 2004.

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