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Foundation giving remained steady in 2023. What’s the outlook for 2024? 

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Every year, Candid fields the Foundation Giving Forecast Survey, asking large U.S. private and community foundations to share information about their grant payments and grantmaking practices.i The survey is an opportunity to obtain timely data before official figures are released by the IRS, and the results inform Giving USA’s annual report on charitable giving.  

At the start of 2023, some foundations were pessimistic about giving in the year ahead, with more respondents anticipating decreases in grantmaking than increases. Did fears about lower giving in 2023 play out?  

Giving in 2023 by survey respondents remained about the same 

Among 496 respondents, cumulative grant dollars increased from $25.8 billion in fiscal year end (FYE) 2022 to $26.2 billion in 2023 (unadjusted for inflation), a 1.7% increase.ii The change in giving in 2023 for each foundation ranged from a decrease of 75% to an increase of more than 100%. The median foundation gave about the same in 2023 as in 2022 (a 0.3% increase).  

Community foundations saw the greatest increase in giving 

Source: Foundation Giving Forecast Survey, 2024. Calculations are unadjusted for inflation. “All foundations” includes one operating foundation.  

Community foundations saw a bigger increase in giving in 2023 than independent or corporate foundations. The median community foundation awarded 6.6% more grant dollars in 2023, and the median corporate foundation gave 1% more. The median independent foundation awarded the same amount in 2023 as in 2022.  

Median payout rate by independent foundations held steady at 5% 

Source: Foundation Giving Forecast Survey, 2024. Excludes spend-down foundations.  

Private foundations are required to make eligible charitable expenditures of at least 5% of the value of their endowments. This payout requirement ensures that foundations expend their funds to do good for society. Because the foundation payout rate is tied to investment assets, volatility in the stock market may impact the amount of grant dollars awarded, even if the distribution rate remains stable. 

In 2023, the median payout rate among 315 independent foundations was 5%, unchanged from last year’s survey. The mean payout rate was 7.5%, up from 6.8% the year before.  

A foundation’s payout rate can vary from year to year for a variety of reasons. Foundations that exceeded the requirement in previous years may “carry forward” that excess in subsequent years. For example, some foundations awarded more than the requirement in 2021 and 2022 to address increased needs and may, therefore, reduce their payout rate in 2023. Foundations undergoing strategic planning or in transition may pause from seeking new grantees and awarding new grants, lowering their payout rate.  

Foundations that increased payout in 2023 cited specific causes, including increased giving to racial justice, grantees in Israel impacted by the war, and education and arts organizations still negatively affected by the pandemic. Ten foundations reported that they were sunsetting and spending down their assets, resulting in large payout rates. (These foundations were excluded from the chart above.) 

Nearly a third of foundations expect to give more in 2024

Source: Foundation Giving Forecast Survey, 2024. 

About 53% of respondents anticipate that their grantmaking in 2024 will remain about the same as in 2023, though many provided the caveat that this forecast depends on the value of their investments. About 31% projected increased giving this year—up from 23% in 2023—citing larger endowments, beginning new projects, or an intention to increase giving. Among foundations that anticipated decreased giving, some explained that after several years of higher than usual grantmaking, they were returning to typical giving levels. Others cited the conclusion of specific projects. Community foundations noted that their reliance on donor-advised funds can make giving unpredictable from year to year.  

In summary, foundation giving in 2023 by respondents held relatively steady, despite fears of decreased giving. And foundations appear relatively optimistic that giving will at least continue as usual or at increased levels in 2024.  

Our thanks to the foundations that participated in the 2024 survey. We welcome your input on questions you’d like us to ask foundations next year. Please share your ideas in the comments. 

iThe 2024 survey was emailed to 2,156 U.S. foundations. A convenience sample of 527 foundations responded, a 24% response rate. Not every foundation responded to every question. We focus on larger foundations, as their giving accounts for a vast proportion of the overall grant dollars awarded. 

iiThe survey asked about grant payments made in the organization’s fiscal year. Roughly 75% of respondents have a fiscal year that matches the calendar year. Learn more about the different types of “years” used in the social sector.   


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  • Grace Sato says:

    June 27, 2024 2:28 pm

    We definitely could adjust figures for inflation. Inflation was still on the high side in 2023, so flat giving by current dollars actually meant a decline, adjusted for inflation. We'll consider including both for next year's analysis.

  • Ryan Schlegel says:

    June 25, 2024 9:39 am

    it's great to have survey data insights into funding ahead of global 990 data, and especially valuable to be able to compare funder forecasts with actual funding decisions. i'm curious - why not adjust these numbers for inflation? wouldn't adjusting them for inflation have a directional impact (i.e. positive to negative) on the change in funding year-over-year?