Friday, July 24, 2009

2008: Giving Dropped $6.4 Billion; Largest Decline On Record

by Mark Hrywna

Overall giving in the United States declined last year by 2 percent, the largest drop since records have been kept and the first since 1987. Giving by individuals again made up about three-quarters of all giving but declines in foundation endowments and grantmaking might make for an even more challenging environment for next year’s report.

Community foundations, in particular, have been hit hard, first because of the declining value of their endowments, but also the lack of additional or new gifts because of the economy. The biggest impact on family foundations, meanwhile, depends on the size and commitments they have. There’s been some evidence in the last year that smaller family foundations have chosen to convert to a donor-advised fund within a community foundation. Other larger foundations have decided to go into their endowments to maintain their grantmaking.

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