Grantmaking Statistics


  • Though large gifts by foundations get a lot of press, the majority of giving in the U.S. comes from individuals (from those living and through bequests).  As of 2013 the percent of gifts from individuals runs around 81%. Foundations make about 14% of awards and corporations around 5%. (from the NonProfit Times and Giving USA report)
  • Foundations gave a record $54.7 billion in 2013 according to the NonProfit Times, citing the Foundation Center‘s Giving USA report.
  • Total foundation assets were estimated at $646.1 billion in 2011.
  • Foundation giving increased by a little more than 5% in 2013 over 2012, reaching a new record of $54.7 billion.
  • Foundations are required by law to give at least 5 percent of the market value of their assets or their interest income annually depending on which is greater, over a three year period. The tremendous growth in the market since the collapse of 2009 has meant continuing increases in total Foundation giving.
  • The total number of grant making foundations has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, rising from 47,000 to 84,000.
  • About 5-10% of the largest foundations give out around 20% of total awards by all foundations.
  • In 2008 about two thirds of all foundations filing with the IRS had less than $1 million in assets.
  • Family foundations comprise more than half of all independent foundation. 62% had less than $1million in assets in 2010, but as a whole family foundations accounted for over $20 billion in giving in 2010.
  • Corporations accounted for a little over 5% of all philanthropic giving in 2010, and increased more than 10% between 2010 and 2012.  In 2013, corporate giving totaled $16.76  billion. In 2011, corporate giving was the fastest growing category.
  • Individual giving accounted for more than 72% of all charitable giving in 2012. In 2013 Americans gave a total of $335.17 billion, which was an increase of 4.4% over the numbers for 2011. 95.4% of all households give to charity, with the average annual household contribution of $2974.
  • Foundation assets in the U.S. have grown dramatically since the huge downturn in 2008. The $17.8 billion largest ever gift to a foundation, by Bill and Melinda Gates, was a significant event! According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, total assets in U.S. Foundations reached $3 trillion in 2012, up from $682 Billion in 2008.
  • Wherever your organization’s funds come from, note that the IRS has a specific rule regarding the amount that can come from one person, organization or corporation. If that amount exceeds 30% for five years or more, that organization no longer meets the test of a public charity and would likely lose their 501(c)(3) designation.