Organizations in this industry manage endowments and award grants to a variety of recipients; some endow a single entity, such as a museum or university. Major organizations include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the J Paul Getty Trust, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W K Kellogg Foundation, all based in the US, as well as the Stichting INGKA Foundation (based in the Netherlands), the Al Maktoum Foundation (the UAE), and the Azim Premji Foundation (India).
More than 260,000 global foundations have combined assets of almost $1.5 trillion, according to The Global Philanthropy Report from Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute for Civil Society and UBS Global Management. The US has the most foundations, followed by Germany and Hungary.
There were more than 86,000 grantmaking foundations in the US in 2015, according to The Foundation Center, Foundation Stats (2018). Their grants totaled $62.8 billion.
Demand is driven by a wide range of local, regional, and national problems that impact public policy, civic life, social justice, and various economic, political, and cultural issues. The profitability of individual foundations depends on effective fundraising and strategic investments. Large foundations have advantages in broad donor support and geographic reach, as well as significant investment income. Small foundations can compete effectively by offering flexible philanthropic services that target localized needs. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest organizations take in about 40% of overall revenue.
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Project areas that receive the most money in annual grants from US foundations include health and human services (about 40%), education (about 20%), public
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Finance & Regulation
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Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms