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Thursday, 8th November 2007

More Than Grantmaking: A First Look at Foundations' Direct Charitable Activities

More Than Grantmaking: A First Look at Foundations' Direct Charitable Activities (PDF; 815 KB)
Source: Foundation Center
From press release:

The Foundation Center has spearheaded a study, the first of its kind, that tracks the growing role of operating programs — known as direct charitable activities — as a part of the work of American philanthropic foundations. The report, More Than Grantmaking: A First Look at Foundations' Direct Charitable Activities, highlights the breadth of work in which foundations are engaged and sheds light on the often overlooked non-grantmaking programs of foundations. Findings are based on results of a 2007 survey of more than 900 of the nation's 3,000 largest foundations in terms of total giving.

The foundations surveyed for the report cited three main types of direct charitable activities:

  • convening conferences and other events that serve a broad audience;
  • providing technical assistance or training to grantees; and
  • supporting the service of their staff on advisory boards of other charities or public commissions.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Most respondents said that this expanded role of foundations is growing: 60 percent of independent and family foundations involved in direct charitable activities increased their levels in the last five years, and 75 percent believe that this practice is becoming more widespread.
  • Large foundations are the ones most likely to operate their own programs, the findings show. Of the 684 independent and family foundations surveyed, half of those with annual giving of $10 million or more conduct direct charitable activities, compared with one quarter overall. Nearly all foundations that operate such programs (95 percent) are staffed.



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