Exponent Philanthropy recently released its 2015 Foundation operations and management report to the association’s nearly 2,300 members. Based on an extensive survey of its member foundations, who have few or no staff, the report includes more than 50 pages of information on how member foundations govern, steward their assets, accomplish their administrative work, and carry out their grantmaking in ways that achieve lasting, outsized impact in communities across the US and around the world.
Member foundations grant more than $4 billion annually to local, national and international causes, directing two-thirds (67 per cent) to local communities. Twenty per cent of member foundations make international grants.
- Top funding interests include education (78 per cent of member foundations), human services (61 per cent), health (56 per cent) and arts and culture (53 per cent).
- On average, member foundations spend just 14 cents per dollar on operating costs.
- One-quarter of member foundations have no staff; a typical member foundation with staff has just two employees.
- Member foundations reach out to learn and lead by attending site visits (74 per cent), using information from grantees to inform grantmaking (62 per cent), meeting with other funders (58 per cent) and attending conferences or other educational opportunities (55 per cent).
- More than three-quarters of member foundations have conflict of interest and investment policies in place.
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