NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Laws Force Foundations To Ever More Generous Handouts

March 29, 2000

The soaring value of equity holdings plus tax laws which require foundations to distribute 5 percent of their assets each year are prompting American charities to give away record amounts in grants. Giving by every type of foundation has increased, according to the Foundation Center.

  • In 1999, according to the latest report from the center, giving hit approximately $22.8 billion -- compared to $8.7 billion a decade ago and $19.5 billion in 1998.
  • Individual grants of $5 million or more climbed to 147 in 1998 -- from under 50 for much of the early 1990s.
  • Foundation endowments reached $385 billion at the end of 1998.

The number of foundations has more than doubled since 1980, to more than 47,000 and newly active foundations were responsible for one-fifth of the rise in foundation giving from 1997 to 1998.

Corporate foundations increased the amounts they made in grants by a record 22 percent last year -- to an estimated $3 billion.

Source: Reed Abelson, "Foundation Giving Is at $23 Billion High," New York Times, March 29, 2000.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues