Soliciting Funding from Family Foundations

Findings from a 2019 Foundation Source Client Survey

When we think of private foundations, names such as Gates, Ford, and Rockefeller come first to mind. But those billion-dollar foundations represent a very small segment of the philanthropic sector. Of the more than 90,000 foundations in the United States, fewer than 60 have endowments in excess of $1 billion. The vast majority, more than 90 percent, have endowments of less than $10 million. Most of these organizations are family foundations.

[callout]Approaching the smaller foundations requires a specialized strategy, and the rules of the road for large foundations generally don’t apply.[/callout]

Since 1995, the number of nonprofit organizations has soared 50 percent, to more than 1.5 million. And the competition for philanthropic dollars has grown just as dramatically. As the chances of obtaining a grant from the larger foundations dwindle from slim to none, many nonprofits are rethinking their strategy. Instead of applying to the philanthropic behemoths, organizations are searching for more diverse funding streams.

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