NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Booming Markets Prompt Institutions To Give

April 6, 1999

The nation's foundations gave away a record amount of money last year, according to a report from the Foundation Center in New York.

  • Foundations made an estimated $19.5 billion in grants in 1998 to non-profit groups -- up from $16 billion in 1997.
  • Over the last two years, giving has climbed by about 41 percent -- resulting in an additional $5.6 billion in grants.
  • The huge growth of the stock market sent the foundations' assets soaring to $329.9 billion in 1997.
  • The nation's largest foundation is the Lilly Endowment, whose assets reached $11.5 billion in 1997 from $6.8 billion in 1996 -- largely because of the rising price of Eli Lilly & Co. stock.

By law, most foundations must give away at least 5 percent of their assets. Analysts say they are disbursing slightly more than that.

Foundations made a record 86,000 grants of $10,000 or more in 1997, compared with 78,000 in 1996. They also made a record 226 grants of $2.5 million or more.

Source: Reed Abelson, "Buoyed by Stocks, Foundations Increased Their Giving to $19.5 Billion Last Year," New York Times, April 6, 1999.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues