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Key Facts on Corporate Foundations

April 28, 2010

Today we've got a few charts and figures from "Key Facts on Corporate Foundations," the second of three fact sheets pulled from the just-released 2010 edition of Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates.

First, some facts:

  • $4.4 billion -- Estimated giving by corporate foundations in 2009
  • -3.3 percent -- Estimated decrease in corporate foundation giving betwen 2008 and 2009
  • 2,745 -- Number of grantmaking corporate foundations in 2008
  • 20 percent -- Share of corporate foundations reporting more than $1 million in giving in 2008
  • 10 percent -- Corporate foundation giving as a share of all foundation giving in 2008

Findings from the Foundation Center's annual giving survey show that corporate foundations reduced their giving by an estimated 3.3 percent in 2009 -- a smaller decline than those reported for independent (-8.9 percent) and community (-9.6 percent) foundations. Total grant dollars awarded by corporate foundations also fell, to $4.4 billion -- less than the record $4.6 billion awarded in 2008 but on par with the total for 2007.



According to the Giving Estimates report, the smaller reduction in giving by corporate foundations was a bit of a surprise, given the across-the-board reductions in corporate earnings in 2009 and the large share of giving -- typically about one-quarter -- historically accounted for by foundations established by firms in the banking and finance sector. The findings suggest a couple of possibilities: that corporate foundations were making exceptional efforts to minimize cuts in giving during the economic crisis/downturn; and/or the surprisingly rapid return to profitability of several major firms in the banking and finance industry.


Compared to community and independent foundations, the larger corporate foundations included in the Foundation Center's 2008 grants sample were more likely to allocate funding to the public affairs/society benefit category. Nevertheless, education (23 percent) remained the top priority of corporate foundations in the center's survey, followed by and human services (20 percent), public affairs/society benefit (19 percent), health (14 percent), arts and culture (13 percent), environment/animals (4 percent), international affairs/development/peace (3 percent), science/technology (3 percent), and other (1 percent).

Finally, three out of five corporate foundations responding to the center's annual survey expect to either increase (43 percent) or maintain (17 percent) their giving in 2010, with the rest (40 percent) saying they expect to see reductions in their giving.


To download a free copy of the complete Giving Estimates report (12 pages, PDF), click here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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