Giving by Foundations

2017 5.9 2018 6.0

Giving by foundations includes grants made by all U.S. foundations to U.S. charities. The foundation types included in this prediction include community, private (including family), and operating foundations.* 

Giving by foundations is predicted to increase by 5.9% in 2017 and by 6.0% in 2018.**

The current projections for giving by foundations (grantmaking) for the years 2017 and 2018 are above the historical 10-year average rate of growth of 4.9%, but well below the 25-year and 40-year average double-digit rates of growth.18

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence foundation giving in 2017 and 2018 include:

  • Average to above-average growth in the S&P 500 in preceding years,19 and
  • Average to above-average growth in preceding years’ GDP.

The above two factors will account for most of the predicted growth in giving by foundations in these years. As foundations typically budget their giving based on asset growth, trends in the prior year’s S&P 500 will impact giving in the current year. Average to above-average predicted growth in the S&P 500 in 2016 and 2017 will influence strong foundation giving in 2017 and 2018.
The majority of the increase in projected foundation giving
for the years 2017 and 2018 will be influenced by average to above-average growth in prior years’ GDP. However, growth in giving positively influenced by rising GDP will be tempered by the projected rise in household and nonprofit net worth in current and preceding years. This result may be due to foundations restraining giving in positive economic periods to save grant funding for economic downturns.20

* This prediction does not explicitly break out projected rates of growth for each foundation type.

** All growth rates are based on predictions for giving in inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars using 2016 as the base year. The Philanthropy Outlook projects the growth rates of variables into 2017 and 2018; predicted growth rates are compared with the variables’ historical 10-, 25-, and 40-year annualized means. See Table 1 for these data.