A Look at National Grantmaking Trends

criteriaThe National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy recently released new reports on 2011 philanthropic giving to key areas in Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best: Benchmarks to Assess and Enhance Grantmaker Impact. NCRP uses data from Foundation Center, which analyzed the grants of $10,000 or more from 1,121 of the largest grantmakers in the country.

Here are the four reports that make up NCRP’s Philanthropic Landscape 2011 analysis:

  • The State of General Operating Support 2011 saw a shift to increased general operating support, from the 2008-10 average of 16 percent to 24 percent in 2011. One Minnesota grantmaker made the list of largest funders by percentage: U.S. Bank Foundation, which committed all its grant dollars to general operating support.
  • The State of Giving to Underserved Communities 2011 saw a slight increase from 40 percent in the previous 3-year period to 42 percent of foundation grant dollars benefiting underserved communities, defined as economically disadvantaged persons, racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls, disabled persons, and other groups. One Minnesota grantmaker, Northwest Area Foundation, was on the list of largest funders by share of giving to underserved communities, at 96% of its total giving.
  • In The State of Multi-Year Funding 2011, while nearly 90 percent of funders reported making no multi-year grants, two Minnesota grantmakers were noted. Blandin Foundation and The McKnight Foundation both made the list for largest funders for multi-year grants as a percentage of their totally giving, at 86% and 81% respectively. The McKnight Foundation also made the list of largest foundations ranked by total multi-year giving.
  • In The State of Social Justice Philanthropy 2011, while the share of giving to social justice decreased 3 percentage points from an average of 15 percent in the previous 3-year period to 12 percent of grant dollars in 2011, there was an increase in the number of grantmakers, from 76 to 94, providing NCRP’s proposed level of 25 percent of grant dollars for social justice work. Northwest Area Foundation also made this list of largest funders by share, with 92% of grant dollars going to social justice efforts.

In nearly all of the reporting, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was a significant funder, and analysis was prepared with and without their contributions. Without the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the mix, the Midwest region was well represented across most of these reporting areas, usually reporting within a couple percentage points of the highest ranked region.

- Anne Graham, MCF research associate

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