Community foundation giving surpassed corporations for first time in 2008

The nation’s 717 community foundations increased their giving by an estimated 6.7 percent in 2008, to a record $4.6 billion, a new report from the Foundation Center, “Key Facts on Community Foundations,” finds.

According to the Philanthropy News Digest article, U.S. community foundations increased their share of overall foundation giving to 10 percent in 2008, with education and human services topping the list of giving priorities among responding organizations. For the first time, the amount given by community foundations surpassed that of corporate foundations. Although domestic community foundations have thrived in recent years, benefiting from strong growth in the value of their assets as well as in the number of large gifts and bequests, they are expected to scale back their giving in 2009. Nearly three-quarters of the foundations that responded to the survey said they expect to cut back on their giving this year.

“Community foundations may fare better than other types of grantmakers, given their large pool of donors and leading role in responding to those affected by the economic crisis,” said Foundation Center senior director of research Steven Lawrence. “But most will have no choice but to pull back on giving in the near term.”

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