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Community foundations are one of four primary types of foundation, the others being independent, corporate, and operating. Concentrated in ten states, they account for about 1% of all foundations and for about 9% of total annual foundation giving. In recent years, the ratio of community foundations that have expected to increase their giving in a subsequent calendar year has varied from 17% to 64%, while the rest have expected either no change in giving or a decrease.

 

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

 

Numbers of Community Foundations:

From 2006 to 2010, the total number of foundations increased by 4,133 (or 5.7%) from 72,477 to 76,610. Over the same period, the total number of community foundations increased by 17 (or 2.4%) from 717 to 734. Their share of all foundations remained under 1% throughout the period.

 

Year Community Foundations All Foundations
Number Percent (%) of Total Number Total Number
2006 717 Less than 1% 72,477
2007 717 Less than 1% 75,187
2008 709 Less than 1% 75,595
2009 737 Less than 1% 76,545
2010 734 Less than 1% 76,610

 

In 2006, eight states had 20 or more community foundations: California (CA), Florida (FL), Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), Ohio (OH), Pennsylvania (PA), Texas (TX), and Wisconsin (WI). Iowa (IA) in 2007 became the 9th state on this list, and New York (NY) became the 10th state on it in 2008. Washington State (WA) became the 11th state on the list in 2009, but it left the same list in 2010.

 

Share of Total Foundation Giving:

Each year during 2006 to 2010, community foundation giving, as a share of total foundation giving, remained at between 9% and 10%. After rising from 9% in 2006 to 10% in both 2007 and 2008, it fell back to 9.1% in 2009 and moved to 9.2% in 2010.

 

Annual Giving by Foundation Type:

During 2006-10, annual giving by community foundations increased from $3.6 billion to $4.2 billion (and has been estimated at $4.2 billion again for 2011). Total foundation giving increased from $39 billion to $45.9 billion over the same five-year period.

 

Annual Giving by Type of Foundation
Year Independent Community Operating Corporate Total
2006 $27.5 billion $3.6 billion $3.9 billion $4.1 billion $39.0 billion
2007 $32.2 billion $4.3 billion $3.4 billion $4.4 billion $44.4 billion
2008 $33.8 billion $4.5 billion $3.9 billion $4.6 billion $46.8 billion
2009 $32.8 billion $4.2 billion $4.2 billion $4.7 billion $45.8 billion
2010 $32.5 billion $4.2 billion $4.3 billion $4.7 billion $45.9 billion

 

Forecast Changes in Community Foundation Giving:

During survey years 2007 through 2011 — with the big exception of 2008 — two fifths of more of all community foundations expected to increase their giving during the following calendar year (i.e., in 2008 through 2012). The balance of the community foundations in each survey year expected either to see no change in giving or to see a decrease.

 

Year of Forecast % Forecast Increase %  Forecast Decrease % Forecast No Change
2007 64% 25% 11%
2008 17% 74% 9%
2009 41% 42% 17%
2010 50% 34% 16%
2011 45% 35% 15%

 

A later post will explore the significance for grant seekers of the five-year philanthropic trends among corporate, community, and family foundations.

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