Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. Foundation Funding


The Foundation Center grants database contains all grants greater than $10,000[4] that were made by a sample of more than 1,000 independent foundations, corporate foundations, operating foundations with substantial grant-making programs, and community foundations.[5] All of the 800 largest foundations (based on annual giving) are included in the sample, as are the 1015 largest foundations in each state and other foundations that report their spending to the FC.

Most foundation spending occurs in the domestic arena (Table B.1).[6] In 2006, 75 percent of total foundation philanthropic spending was domestic. However, the share of foundation funding devoted to the international sphere almost doubled from 2002 to 2006. This growth was due to declines in real domestic spending over the period as well as to increases in real international spending.[7]

(IN MILLIONS 2006 $)
  2002 2004 2006
Category Amount % of Total Amount % of Total Amount % of Total
International (all countries) 1,685.9 13 2,487.6 21 3,413.8 25
Domestic 11,070.7 87 9,493.8 79 10,382.6 75
Total[8] 12,756.6   11,981.4   13,796.4  

Across sectors, the largest share of international foundation spending was devoted to health, ranging from 46 percent in 2002 to a high of 63 percent in 2004 (Table B.2). Real spending on health grew by 130 percent from 2002 to 2006 (percentage not shown).

Domestically, however, spending devoted to health represented only a quarter or less of foundation philanthropic spending, with education representing the largest domestic sector (Table B.3). Total real domestic spending fell by six percent from 2002 to 2006 (percentage not shown), and spending fell in all sectors except health. In contrast, spending on all international sectors increased, often substantially; development spending almost doubled between 2002 and 2006, and spending on relief more than quintupled (albeit from a low base).

Foundation international spending in the developing world was heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa in 2006nearly half of all spending was in this region (Table B.4). This represents a very substantial increasein total dollars and share of spendingfrom 2002. In that year, spending in sub-Saharan Africa constituted 29 percent of all spending in the developing world, slightly less than the share of spending directed to Latin America and the Caribbean (30 percent). There was a significant overall increase in international spending in developing countries (46 percent, not shown) from 2002 to 2006.

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