According to Giving USA, Foundations gave $41.21 Billion in grants in 2008. In this article, you will discover important giving facts as well as tips that will assist you in your grant writing.
- In 2008, the Foundation Center claims that there were 75,187 grantmaking U.S. foundations.
- Although the figures vary slightly from year to year, the 4,000 largest ones have 90 percent of the assets and make 80 percent of the awards.
- By federal law, they must give away 5 percent of the market value assets or interest income each year, whichever is greater. This law means, for example, that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with over $8.4 billion in market assets must award at least $420 million annually.
- They must follow the 5 percent rule or risk losing their tax-exempt status.
- They vary considerably in market assets, staff size, funding priorities, review protocols, geographic giving patterns, and preferred approach.
- The five primary types are national (i.e., Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation), community, corporate, family, or special purpose (i.e., the Whitaker foundation restricts support to biomedical research).
- Some are eager to share information about themselves; others take a very constrained approach to information dissemination.
- Network. Pay special attention to those people who mention board memberships or friends on boards.
- Consider how your idea fits into the mostly commonly funded areas (i.e., education, health, human services, public/society benefit, arts and culture, international affairs, religion, environment and animals).
- Contact staff. Less than 8% have staff who are employed to manage their granting programs. Many required contact by letter.
- Use directories, websites (which may be months or even a year or two outdated), electronic retrieval, and database searches. These can be done online or at your local Free Funding Information Center.
- Use 990-PF tax returns. This IRS information is public; it contains assets, grants paid or committed for future payments, and managers.
- Collect three important pieces of information: 1) net assets, 2) list of key personnel (staff, officers, etc.), and 3) list of recipients of grants for previous year.