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).
The world's largest foundations operate in multiple countries, but most organizations in the industry focus on their home regions. Over the past decade, foundations around the world have awarded about 10.5 million grants totaling $2.9 trillion, according to The Foundation Center.
The grantmaking foundations industry in the US includes about 12,000 establishments (single-location organizations and units of multi-location organizations) with combined annual revenue of about $71 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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Glossary of Acronyms