Giving by Foundations

Giving by foundations includes grants made by all American foundations to U.S. charities. The foundation types included in this prediction include community, private (including family), and operating foundations.2

According to the baseline projection alone, giving by foundations would have increased in 2018 and 2019. The exceptional circumstances created by tax policy changes have complicated this picture. Click here for a more detailed analysis.

Specific factors that will significantly and positively influence foundation giving in 2018 and 2019 include:

  • Close-to-average to above-average growth in the S&P 500 in preceding years,63 and
  • Close-to-average to average growth in preceding year’s GDP.

These two factors will account for most of the predicted growth in giving by foundations in these years. Since foundations typically budget their giving based on asset growth, trends in the prior year’s S&P 500 impact giving in the current year. As such, average to above-average predicted growth in the S&P 500 in 2017 and 2018 will influence strong foundation giving in 2018 and 2019.

The majority of the increase in projected foundation giving for the years 2018 and 2019 will be influenced by close-to-average to average growth in prior year’s 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 during positive economic periods to save grant funding for economic downturns.64