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How Much do Foundations Contribute to Arts and Culture?

Total Foundation Giving to Arts and Culture

UPDATE--More current information on foundation contributions to arts and culture is now available; see the 2003 Foundation Center special report, Arts Funding IV, released in June 2003.

The nation's approximately 56,600 foundations contributed an estimated $3.69 billion to arts, culture, media and the humanities in 2000, according to the Foundation Center. This represents approximately 13 percent of an estimated total of $27.6 billion grant dollars given by foundations in 2000. [Lawrence, Steven, Dia Ganguly. 2002. Foundation Yearbook, 2002. New York, NY: The Foundation Center, p. 2; Renz, Loren. 2002. Arts Funding Update , 2002. New York, NY: The Foundation Center. (http://fdncenter.org/research/trends_analysis/pdf/artupdt.pdf)]

A detailed analysis of all grants of $10,000 or larger given by a subset of 1,015 larger foundations found that arts and culture received about 12 percent of grant dollars given by these larger foundations. Among the 200 or so smaller foundations in this subset, however, the percentage of total grant dollars going to the arts was above 15 percent.

Within this subset of 1,015 larger foundations, education was the recipient of the largest share of grant dollars, accounting for one-quarter (25%) of all grant dollars awarded in 2000. The health sector ranked second in terms of foundation support in 2000, receiving about one-fifth (21%) of all grant dollars given. Human services received 14% of grant dollars in 2000, ranking third, followed by arts and culture in fourth place at 12%.

Foundation giving by subject categories - 2000. Percent of all grant dollars.

Arts Giving by Sub-fields

A detailed analysis of all arts-related grants of $10,000 or larger given by a subset of 1,015 larger foundations found that the performing arts field was the largest recipient of arts and culture dollars awarded in 2000, accounting for roughly one-third of all art and culture dollars given (32%). Museums were close behind at 29 percent. No other area accounted for more than 10 percent of foundation giving to arts and culture [Lawrence, Steven, Dia Ganguly. 2002. Foundation Giving Trends, 2002. New York, NY: The Foundation Center, p. 16].

Foundation giving to arts and culture sub-fields - 2000. Percent of all grant dollars given to arts and culture.

Trends in Foundation Giving to Arts and Culture

The estimated $3.7 billion given by foundations to arts, culture, media, and the humanities in 2000 was roughly double the amount of support given just four years earlier (approximately $1.8 billion in 1996). This increase in giving to the arts between 1996 and 2000 was reflective of the booming economy that prevailed during the late 1990s and generally comparable to increases in foundation support for other areas, as well. The relative share of foundation support for arts and culture, as a proportion of total foundation giving, ranged from 12 to 15 percent between 1996 and 2000 [Renz, Loren. 2002. Arts Funding Update, 2002. New York, NY: The Foundation Center. (http://fdncenter.org/research/trends_analysis/pdf/artupdt.pdf); Lawrence, Steven, Dia Ganguly. 2002. Foundation Giving Trends, 2002. New York, NY: The Foundation Center, p. 15]

Complete data for foundation giving to arts and culture for the years since 2000 is not yet available. Clearly, the financial climate has changed dramatically since 2000, and it is likely that new data will show a significant decline in the level of foundation support for arts and culture since 2000. The Foundation Center (http://fdncenter.org/) plans to issue an updated report on foundation support for arts and culture sometime during 2003.

Foundation giving to arts and culture, 1996 - 2000

 

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