Follow the money: Canadian community, private foundation grants grow 73% in a decade

publication date: Sep 5, 2014

Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Imagine Canada have just released the first-ever report about the assets and giving trends of Canada’s largest grantmaking foundations. The report demonstrates the growing contribution made by grantmaking foundations across the country.

Using data from Imagine Canada’s Grant Connect database, Assets and Giving Trends of Canada’s Grantmaking Foundations provides a portrait of the largest 150 grantmaking foundations and the ten largest community foundations in Canada. The detailed report looks at data for assets and gifts over the period from 2002 to 2012, with a particular focus on grants made between 2009 and 2011.

Foundation assets more than double

Over the past ten years, the total value of assets held by the largest 150 grantmaking foundations has more than doubled, increasing from just over $8.8 billion in 2002 to $18.7 billion in 2012. This growth in assets has been matched by a growth in giving to Canada’s charities, from $558 million in 2004 to $966 million in 2012, a growth of 73%.

Grantmaking foundations, acting as long-term supporters and strategic partners of charities, distribute their grants across a range of organizations in the community. In 2011, in terms of total value, foundations gave the most support to grantees in education and research (28% of the total value of grants), followed by social services (16%), and health (15%).

“This research reflects the growth in organized philanthropy that we have seen in Canada over the last ten years, despite the financial crisis of 2008,” said Hilary Pearson, president of Philanthropic Foundations Canada. “Foundations have been in Canada for over 75 years but we are seeing a huge evolution, from informal charitable giving to an increasingly professionalized sector committed to making social change.”

“It is great to be able to quantify the incredible impact that grantmaking foundations have on Canada’s charities,” says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada. “Charity leaders looking to enrich their fundraising efforts and to create more impactful partnerships with foundations need to read this report.”

Produced in collaboration between Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Imagine Canada, this data-based portrait of grantmaking foundations seeks to inform a diverse audience, including foundation donors, the broader charitable community, policymakers, and the general public, about the role of grantmaking foundations in Canada’s charitable sector.

Assets and Giving Trends of Canada’s Grantmaking Foundations is available as a free download on the Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Imagine Canada websites.

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