U.S. Foundations Increase Giving Significantly in 2006
The New York-based Foundation Center recently published its annual Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates report, presenting aggregate totals for gifts made in 2005, an estimate of 2006 donation levels, and a prospectus for foundation giving in 2007.
The report found that U.S. foundations significantly increased their giving in 2006 to $40.7 billion, up from $36.4 billion in 2005. This 11.7 percent jump continued the trend of double-digit growth rates set in 2005, when foundations increased giving by 14.3 percent.
A diverse array of factors has contributed to the sustained growth in giving over the past two years, the Foundation Center noted, ranging from gains in the stock market to a rise in youthful donors who give “through their foundations but are not yet ready to fully endow them.” The report also gives special credit to newly created pharmaceutical foundations that distribute medicines to the needy.
Community, independent and corporate foundations all increased their levels of giving in 2006, with community foundations’ distributions growing by 13.2 percent from 2005, independent foundations by 10.3 percent, and corporate foundations by 6 percent.
The Foundation Center predicted that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the trend of increased giving would continue in 2007 and would be driven primarily by community and independent foundations.
“The United States is experiencing a new ‘golden age of philanthropy,’” the report commented, primarily because “the private resources committed to organized philanthropy continue to expand.”
U.S. Trust Surveys Affluent Americans
The vast majority of philanthropists give to charity because they support specific causes and want to “give back” to society, says the 2007 U.S. Trust Survey of Affluent Americans. The survey collected responses from 264 Americans, each with assets of more than $5 million.
The report also found that income tax deductions and family traditions are less important factors driving philanthropy, with 33 percent of respondents naming deductions as a reason for their giving and 24 percent citing traditions.
Eighty percent of affluent Americans do, however, hope to teach their children that wealth brings “social responsibilities,” and even more want their children to understand the importance of philanthropy and charitable work.
In choosing whether to increase giving to a particular nonprofit, respondents list the organization’s accountability and “transparency” as key deciding factors. Additionally, nearly three-quarters say they will be more likely to increase giving if they respect a charity’s leadership.
Almost 70 percent of wealthy Americans also intend to designate some portion of their assets to charity through their wills, with charitable bequests and trusts cited as the most popular methods. Other methods frequently named include family foundations, charitable-gift annuities and donor-advised funds. Two-thirds of these philanthropists plan to contribute to academic institutions and health-related groups, while about 40 percent intend to give to religious groups, libraries or museums, and environmental or public-policy groups.
Athletes for Hope Facilitates Philanthropy Among Sports Stars
As individuals, they have raised more than half a billion dollars for charity. As a group, they hope to raise even more.
Under the leadership of Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong and Mia Hamm, twelve athletes have established Athletes for Hope, an organization that will promote and facilitate philanthropic work among sports stars.
Joining Agassi, Armstrong and Hamm are Muhammad Ali, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken Jr.
“We’ve helped each other through our foundations,” explains Agassi. “We realized as much (change) as we can effect individually, you can effect more profoundly collectively. It’s an exponential message.”
Through the foundation, the twelve will encourage other athletes to pursue philanthropic work and will also connect interested sports stars with projects that fit their particular areas of concern.
“We think it’s a perfect opportunity to use the examples these founders have set to inspire the young athletes that are coming up,” says Athletes for Hope CEO Ivan Blumberg. “Once they become part of the organization, then we will match them up with charities or work with them to create charitable programs on their own.”
The foundation will also ask for fan participation in the effort, encouraging them to donate, participate in community projects and buy Athletes for Hope dog-tag necklaces for $8 apiece.