The 2009 decline in giving by foundations was the largest on record, with the more than 75,000 grant-making U.S. foundations reducing funding by 8.4 percent or $3.9 billion, according to results of an annual survey by the Foundation Center.
The report states that the decline could have been worse, but funders reduced administrative costs and endowments to give more; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation increased its giving; foundations continued to receive gifts and bequests; and foundations were able to average their assets, preventing further giving reductions.
Results show that foundation giving this year will be essentially flat, within a range of a 1 percent decrease or a 1 percent increase. Of foundations that responded to the survey, 44.7 percent said they expected to increase giving, while 38.9 percent planned reductions.
Because of the continuing recovery of the economy, the report predicts some increase in foundation giving in 2011.