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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 review of giving to and by foundations.

Year-over-Year Giving to Foundations

Blackbaud estimates that in 2019, giving to foundations decreased just slightly, by -0.3% compared to 2018. We expect to see growth and change in this area, as avenues for giving like donor-advised funds (DAFs) expand in response to changes in supporter preferences and incentives.

1 2020, Blackbaud Institute, 2019 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.