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Foundation Giving

To chart your organization’s performance and inform your fundraising strategies for the year ahead, check out the following highlights, trends, and statistics with this 2018 review of giving to and by foundations.

Year-over-Year Giving to Foundations


Overall giving has increased 9% since 2016 and giving to foundations has grown 5% over the same three-year time period.Blackbaud estimates that in 2018, giving to foundations increased by 2.4% compared to 2017. We expect these trends to continue, as giving to foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) grow in response to changes in supporter preferences and incentives.

1 2019, Blackbaud Institute, 2018 Charitable Giving Report


Year-over-Year Giving by Foundations

According to Giving USA, giving by foundations totaled $75.86 billion in 2018, which represented 18% of all charitable giving.2 2018 figures increased by 7.3% compared to 2017 and included grantmaking by independent, community, and operating foundations.

Year-over-Year Giving by Foundation Type

And, according to Giving USA, giving by independent foundations—a type of private foundation usually founded by a family, individual, or group of individuals—gave the highest amount in 2018, granting 71.2% of all foundation-issued dollars and increased giving by 7.2% year over year. Operating foundations, which use most of their income to operate their own programs, issued 15.3% of all foundation-issued dollars and increased their giving by 4.9% compared to 2017. Community foundations, which are comprised of community leaders that make grants for local programs only, gave the remaining 13.4% of 2018 dollars—an increase of 10.2% compared to 2017.