Corporate Giving Flat in 2008, Decrease Expected in 2009, Report Finds

Giving by the nearly twenty-five hundred corporate foundations in the United States remained virtually unchanged in 2008 at an estimated $4.4 billion but is likely to decline in 2009, a new report from the Foundation Center finds.

Indeed, with the banking and finance industries accounting for about a quarter of all corporate giving and corporate earnings down across the board, corporate giving may drop significantly this year. According to Key Facts on Corporate Foundations (8 pages, PDF), 51 percent of corporate foundations responding to the center's annual forecasting survey said they expect to reduce their giving in 2009, with three-quarters of these funders anticipating reductions of more than 10 percent.

The report also found that inflation-adjusted corporate giving has remained relatively flat in recent years, that corporate foundations have reported slower cumulative growth in giving than other types of foundations since 1990, and that education continues to be the leading focus of corporate foundations, followed by public affairs/society benefit and human services.

"Corporate foundations will not be alone in having to reduce giving this year," said Steven Lawrence, senior director of research at the Foundation Center, "but the cuts may well be deeper than that for other types of grantmakers."