Small and mid-sized foundations were more generous to charities than they had to be last year, according to a new study.
More than eight out of 10 small and midsize foundations spent more than the minimum distribution required by law—which is about 5 percent of investment assets each year—according to a study by Foundation Source, a company that provides services for family foundations and other philanthropies.
The company reached its findings by examining the 2009 tax filings of nearly 500 of its clients with less than $100-million in assets. Company officials say the latest findings, coupled with a study it conducted in May, which found that among 700 of its clients, the number and size of grants less than $1-million increased by 15 percent last year, contradict other reports that overall foundation giving was down last year.
“The picture of giving trends is far more complex and interesting than indicated in published reports that focus on the large institutional foundations,” says Foundation Source's president, Andrew Bangser, referring to reports by the Foundation Center and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. “The data shows that most family foundations have not limited their giving to the minimum amount required by the IRS. And small and midsize family foundations stepped up dramatically in this tough economy to assist a wide variety of people, organizations, and causes.”