$207 million in grants to communities: new report

New research released last month examines for the first time how and where philanthropic funds in Australia were distributed by cause, sector and region. Where the money goes: private wealth for public good, supported by the Myer Foundation and Telstra Foundation, provides a high level analysis of 4,119 philanthropic grants made over a three year period.

Key observations include:

  • Since the Global Financial Crisis there has been a reduction in the total monetary value of grants made by foundations down from an average of $6.69m per foundation in 2009 to $5.06m in 2011.
  • The majority of grants are small and fragmented, and the overwhelming concentration of grants made (80%) are for less than $50,000 with 36% of grants for less than $10,000. Many of these small grants go to preschools, public primary schools and secondary schools for a range of activities such as sport, music, and learning programs.
  • Generally these foundations combine a few very large multi-year philanthropic grants with a relatively extensive small grants program. The breadth and number of organisations funded is much wider than anticipated.
  • The major cause areas that received the most funding were: Health Wellbeing & Medical Research 23.6%; Poverty & Disadvantage 16.8%; Indigenous Programs 10.9%; and Arts Culture & Humanities 10.7%. At the other end of the spectrum only 1% of funding was directed to Ageing Futures.
  • Over this three-year period 25 grants for $1 million or more were made primarily for capacity building and the establishment of new centres of expertise, although some of these large grants were for capital grants, endowments, research awards and large projects.
  • Many organisations are supported by multiple grants from different foundations, however there was little evidence of co-funding or collaboration on projects.  Twenty four organisations received more than 11 grants each, totalling 481 grants, over three years with a combined total of $48.32m – a large amount of grants in a relatively short amount of time.

The full report is available at http://www.csi.edu.au/assets/assetdoc/2594fcede096267f/Where%20the%20Money%20Goes.pdf

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