Small and Mid-size Foundations’ Grant Making Rose in 2010

The first available data on 2010 grant making by small and mid-size foundations indicate that the number of grants rose 8.7 percent over 2009, while the value of these grants increased by 17.8 percent.

The significant rise in value was driven by the number of large grants of $1 million or more, which rose by 32.6 percent year over year. Even so, the number of grants under $1 million grew by 8.6 percent.

The analysis was prepared by Foundation Source based on its database of more than 900 private foundations nationwide. The findings were drawn from real-time data – not survey responses – captured as Foundation Source processed more than 33,000 grants for its client foundations during the two year period.

“The 2010 increase came on top of 2009’s 15 percent increase in the number of grants made by the same universe of small and mid-size foundations,” said Page Snow, Chief Philanthropic Officer of Foundation Source. “This points to a dichotomy in foundation grant making as grants by larger institutional foundations are reported to have declined in 2009. In fact, ninety-nine percent of all family foundations have assets under $100 million and represent more than half of all foundations. Based on this new grant making data, these foundations remain focused on their mission and have not been deterred by recent uncertainty in the economy and financial markets.”

The categories that benefited most from increased giving by small and mid-size foundations’ grant-making in 2010 were:

  • Arts and culture – Value of grants up 67.6 percent.
  • Public Affairs/Society Benefit – Value of grants up 33.2 percent.
  • Religion – Value of grants up 29.3 percent.

Only two categories received a decreased amount of grants in 2010: Health (down 0.3 percent) Science & Technology (down 41.6 percent).