Steep Drop in Foundation Giving Expected for 2009

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Foundation giving could decline by more than 10 percent at the end of this year, reductions that are expected to continue into 2010, according to a November report released by the Foundation Center.

In its Foundations’ Year-end Outlook for Giving and the Sector, the New York-based philanthropic education and training organization updated earlier estimates showing likely giving declines in the range of 8 percent to 13 percent. Based on the latest collection of survey responses from nearly 600 leading grantmakers, it now says the final figures will come in at the steeper rather than the lower end.

Foundation Center President Bradford K. Smith said in a statement that many funders are “rethinking their grantmaking so that fewer dollars will not necessarily mean less impact.”

Many funders, the report says, have cut things like travel budgets and conference attendance or frozen salaries. Training and professional development have also taken hits.

Even as a majority of survey respondents said that the nonprofit sector was not sufficiently prepared to weather the 2008-2009 economic downturn, most also said that the nonprofits that do survive will “emerge stronger than before,” according to the report.