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Family foundations are one type of independent foundation. Concentrated in ten states, they account for about 56% of all independent foundations. They also account for about 63% of total annual giving by independent foundations. Over the last five years reported, family foundations have increased annual giving by $4.3 billion, or 26.4%, to $20.6 billion.


This post uses Foundation Center data, published in its annual “Key Facts on Family Foundations” series, to explore philanthropic trends among corporate foundations. Its context is the United States of America during the period 2006-10.


Numbers of Family Foundations:

From 2007 to 2010, the total number of family foundations increased by 1,232 (or 3.28%) from 37,539 to 38,671. Their share of all independent foundations increased by 0.05% from 56.00% to 56.05%.


Year Family Foundations Independent Foundations
  Number Percent (%) of Total Number Total Number
2007 37,539 56.00% 67,033
2008 38,339 56.90% 67,379
2009 38,701 57.43% 67,379
2010 38,671 56.05% 68,992


Locations of Family Foundations:

Throughout the years 2006-10, ten states had 1,000 or more family foundations: California (CA), Florida (FL), Illinois (IL), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Pennsylvania (PA), and Texas (TX). There was no change in the number or names of states having 1,000 or more family foundations during the entire period.


Share of Total Giving:

In 1998, family foundations accounted for 48% of total giving by all independent foundations. In later years, they accounted for 54% by 2002, for 56% by 2007, and for 63% of total giving by all independent foundations by 2010.


Larger Amounts of Giving:

Each year during 2006-10, roughly one in nine (from 11% to 13%) of all grant-making family foundations reported giving $500,000 or more. By reporting year the rates were: 12% in 2006, 12% in 2007, 13% in 2008, 11% in 2009, and 11% in 2010.


Smaller Amounts of Giving:

Each year during 2006-10, nearly one in two (from 47% to 49%) of all grant-making family foundations reported giving less than $50,000. By reporting year the rates were: 48% in 2006, 48% in 2007, 47% in 2008, 49% in 2009, and 49% in 2010.


Total Giving by Family Foundations:

During 2006-2010, total giving by grant-making family foundations has increased by $4.3 billion or 26.4%, from $16.3 billion to $20.6 billion. By reporting year the amounts were: $16.3 billion in 2006, $18.5 billion in 2007, $21.1 billion in 2008, $20.3 billion in 2009, and $20.6 billion in 2010. Amounts of giving by family foundations have not yet recovered the peak of $21.1 billion set in 2008.


Annual Growth Rates in Grant Making:

After rising steadily each year between 2005 and 2008, grant making by family foundations fell between 2008 and 2009, and recovered slightly between 2009 and 2010. Rates of change were +13.3% (2005-06), +13.3% (2006-07), +14.4% (2007-08), -4.0% (2008-09), and +1.1% (2009-10). Rates of growth in grant making are no longer keeping up with or exceeding annual cost inflation rates.


Later posts will explore social trends among other types of foundations.




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