Researchers Examine Foundation Expectations for Giving in 2009

Researchers Examine Foundation Expectations for Giving in 2009

The New York City-based Foundation Center has released a new research advisory that examines how foundations expect their 2009 giving to be affected by the economic downturn.

The advisory, Grantmakers Describe the Impact of the Economic Crisis on Their Giving (4 pages, PDF), looks at public statements made by more than a third of the one hundred largest U.S. foundations ranked by total giving and thirty-five other foundations and corporate funders that have described their plans. Of the hundred largest foundations, only two have announced that they intend to increase their giving in 2009: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which said it will increase giving in 2009 by raising its payout rate, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which expects to maintain or increase its giving.

To keep giving stable despite shrinking endowments and assets, ten large foundations, including the Hewlett, Packard, and McKnight foundations, are planning to increase their payout rates or establish cost-cutting measures such as freezing salaries, leaving staff vacancies unfilled, or reducing staff benefits.

"These grantmakers deserve credit for letting their grantees know what to expect over the coming year, so they can prepare," said Foundation Center senior director of research Steven Lawrence, who co-authored the advisory. "A number of these funders are also belt-tightening to boost their giving, which clearly shows that we are all in this together."

The advisory is the latest in a series released as part of the Foundation Center's Focus on the Economic Crisis project, which offers a variety of resources to help nonprofits and foundations deal with the challenges of a tough economic environment.