According to Key Facts on U.S. Foundations, the Foundation Center’s new annual research study, in 2011 the country’s 81,777 foundations held $622 billion in assets and distributed $49 billion, an amount estimated to have reached $50.9 billion in 2012. The outlook for 2013 is for continued modest growth overall.

Among the key findings in the report:

  • Health and education are the top priorities of the country’s largest foundations, accounting for almost half of all grant dollars.
  • More than one third (35%) of all grant dollars awarded by the nation’s largest foundations were specifically intended to benefit the economically disadvantaged.
  • In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the single largest grant: $967 million over five years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.