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Giving by US family foundations still at pre-recession levels

American family foundations granted an additional 1.1% to causes in 2010, but the total given still lagged behind pre-recession levels, according to a study by research organisation the Foundation Center.

American family foundations granted an additional 1.1% to causes in 2010, but the total given still lagged behind pre-recession levels, according to a study by research organisation the Foundation Center.

The report, released this week, found that family foundations gave $20.6 billion (€15.5 billion) to causes in 2010, up from $20.4 billion in 2009.

However, the 2009 figure was 3.4% lower than in 2008, when family foundations gave $21 billion – the highest figure since comparable records began in 2000.

According to the research, there were 38,671 grant-making independent foundations with measurable donor or donor-family involvement in the US in 2010 – one-third of which were established in the 2000s.

Education and health causes were the biggest priority for family foundations, while larger ones also prioritised giving to the economically disadvantaged in 2010.

Family foundations accounted for the majority (63%) of giving by independent foundations, although almost half gave less than $50,000, the study also found.