Spanish foundations mostly young and small

There are currently 12,921 charitable foundations registered in Spain, of which 70 per cent are active. The annual average number of new foundations in Spain has grown since the early 1990s, the sector being mostly composed of ‘young’ organizations. These are among the findings of a report compiled by the Institute for Strategic Analysis of Foundations (INAEF), the first to provide basic data on the socioeconomic importance of the Spanish foundation sector.[1]

Among other notable findings, 52 per cent of Spanish foundations describe their main areas of activity as education and research; 46.5 per cent as culture and recreation; and 35.3 per cent as social assistance. Three out of four consider themselves to be operating foundations, while only 31.9 per cent say that their main activity is grant-giving.

The sector is mostly populated by small organizations. Only 11 per cent have total annual expenditures over €2,400,000. Just over half (53.6 per cent) have annual expenditures over €150,000, and a similar proportion (54.1 per cent) report endowments over €30,000. Spanish foundations reported 103,410 employees in 2010. Human resources in general (including employees, board members, volunteers and indirect employment) amounted to over 200,000 people in 2008.

Charitable foundations have become an increasingly used legal vehicle in Spain for private and public-private initiatives for public benefit. Approximately 50 per cent of Spain’s non-profit organizations are incorporated as charitable foundations, a legal form which means that at least 70 per cent of their net income, regardless of sources of funding, must be spent every year on public benefit activities.

INAEF is a collaboration of several Spanish universities funded by Botin, ONCE, Del Pino, Areces, Santander and Telefonica Foundations.

1 Marta Rey and Luis Ignacio Alvarez (2011) El sector fundacional español: datos básicos Asociación Española de Fundaciones, Madrid.

To download the report

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