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Foundation Giving Dives 8.4 Percent in 2009

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Giving to charities by foundations saw its single biggest year-over-year decline in 2009, plunging a record 8.4 percent, the Foundation Center reported April 16.

Giving fell from $46.8 billion in 2008 to $42.9 billion in 2009. Community foundation cut their grantmaking by 9.6 percent, while independent and family foundations gave 8.9 percent less, and corporate foundations trimmed their donations by 3.3 percent.

The Foundation Center noted, however, that the decline in giving was less than the 17-percent decline in foundation assets reported in 2008. Experts predicted that foundation giving will remain around 2009 levels in 2010 and may rise slightly in 2011.

“The economic crisis has not ended for this country’s nonprofits, and it will be some time before foundations are in a position to help them return to growth,” said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center. “But funders have made exceptional efforts to lessen the pain faced by the nonprofit community.”

The data come from the 2010 Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates report (PDF).

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