FAIRFIELD, Conn., – Foundation Source, the nation’s largest provider of management solutions for private foundations, today released the 2023 Report on Private Philanthropy: Giving and Investment Trends within Private Foundations, a quantitative study of nearly 1,000 foundations with assets between $1 million and $500 million. It found that in the face of economic instability, foundations gave $111 million more in charitable aid in 2022, totaling $865 million compared to $754 million in 2021.
This was despite a 31.5% drop in their asset value and 14.5% decline in growth, reflecting the impact of a challenging economic climate. Regardless of the hardship, foundations continued granting more than the annual distribution requirement of 5%, giving an average of 6.6% of assets in 2022—indicating their commitment to making an impact through charitable giving. They also made more grants – with 31,373 grants in 2022 compared to 29,280 grants in 2021. The average grant size increased from $25,000 in 2021 to $28,000 in 2022.
“Our findings demonstrate the complexity of the charitable giving landscape this year. Foundations are no less susceptible than anyone else to the ever-shifting market trends. Yet they’re also incredibly disciplined through highs and lows, allowing them to maintain generosity, hit record-high giving levels, and effect more change through their philanthropy,” said Gillian Howell, Head of Client Advisory Services.
Among the key findings from the report:
- Giving growth – Collectively, the 980 foundations in our study made a total of 31,373 grants in 2022 representing $865 million in charitable aid. This is a 7% increase in grants and 15% increase in dollars granted over the prior year.
- Grants increased – In 2022, foundations made more and larger grants than they did in 2021. The average number of grants made annually per foundation increased from 31 to 33, while the average grant size increased from $25,000 to $28,000.
- Changing focus – Foundations directed 19.5% of total grant dollars to Public and Societal Benefit organizations, a 2% year-over-year increase, making it the top category for charitable gifts. Funding for the Education sector dropped by 1.8% to second place, receiving 18.1% of grant dollars.
- Mission driven – Larger foundations favored specific-purpose grants at a rate of 2:1 in 2022 to ensure their charitable missions are being pursued in a way that aligns with their vision and incorporating documents.
- Different approaches – Smaller foundations maintained the highest allocations to public equities (57.9%), fixed income (15.5%) and cash (12.2%), one of the ways they ensure liquidity for their overall higher levels of giving. Larger foundations had the highest allocation to alternatives (28.0%) to help provide diversification and return potential to their long-term portfolios.
- Foundation endowments experienced decline – Due to sobering market conditions in 2022, including lower realized gains and contribution rates as well as generally weaker investment performance, foundations experienced double-digit negative growth (-14.5%) and their net asset values declined 31.5%. This outcome may have a greater impact on 2023 foundation giving since each year’s payout requirement is a factor of the prior year’s assets.
“Foundations not only remained committed to their missions in 2022, but also pivoted when events causing urgent need, such as Hurricane Ian and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, demanded emergency charitable aid,” said Hannah Shaw Grove, chief marketing officer of Foundation Source. “We’re cautious that negative asset growth in 2022 could signal a softer environment for giving in 2023. But planning and strong grantee partnerships will help to mitigate headwinds as they continue to focus on long-term priorities and deep-rooted philanthropic legacies.”
The full report can be viewed here.
The 2023 Report on Private Philanthropy presents a year-over-year analysis (2021 to 2022) of foundations with assets between $1 million and $500 million to provide insights into how the wealthiest families and most philanthropic organizations are effecting change in the world. It discusses their advanced grantmaking activities, including the size, timing and locations of the grants, their financial inflows and outflows, and their investment activity, including portfolio growth and asset allocation.
The findings in this report are based on our analysis of the activities of a sample of 980 private, non-operating foundation clients. Our data are drawn from investment returns, asset balances, and transactions recorded by Foundation Source, as we paid grants and expenses on behalf of our clients, prepared their tax returns, and recorded investment information provided by each foundation’s financial institution, as we do not custody or manage assets. Each of the foundations in our sample met the criteria of being active across the two years of the study period 2021 and 2022 and in existence for at least two years.
About Foundation Source (foundationsource.com)
Foundation Source is the nation’s largest provider of foundation management services and a trusted source for philanthropic expertise. We offer purpose-built software applications and a configurable suite of tech-enabled administrative, compliance, tax and advisory solutions for private philanthropists and their foundations.
For more than two decades, Foundation Source has been empowering people and companies to create a better world through philanthropy. We work with individuals, families, boards and professional advisors to bring philanthropic visions to life and make giving easier. Today we are proud to support more than 2,000 unique foundations representing over $22 billion in charitable assets.