New Report: 2018 Illinois Foundation Giving

Friday, October 12, 2018

Illinois foundation giving reached a record $4.6 billion in 2016, according to the latest giving in Illinois report issued today by Forefront in partnership with The Foundation Center. Giving in Illinois 2018 reveals the scope and giving priorities of the Illinois foundation community. 

This analysis is based on The Foundation Center's 2016 grants set, which includes all grants of $10,000 or more reported by 1,000 of the largest U.S. independent, corporate, community, and grantmaking operating foundations by total giving. The sample included 60 Illinois foundations with giving totaling $1.1 billion, of which 53 made grants to recipients in Illinois in 2016.

Download a copy of Giving in Illinois 2018 here.

Giving in Illinois by the numbers

5,242 Foundations

Illinois is home to 5,242 grantmaking foundations spanning all sizes, issue areas, and types: independent or family, corporate community, and operating. 

$39 Billion in Assets 

Illinois foundations experienced growth in assets in 2016, with an increase of 1 percent.

$4.6 Billion in Giving

Illinois foundation giving reached a record $4.6 billion in 2016, nearly tripling since 2006 (adjusted for inflation, giving rose 140 percent). By comparison, giving by U.S. foundations rose 77 percent during this period (or 48 percent after inflation). The Illinois foundation community has shown annual growth in giving every year in the past decade. 

Top Funding Priorities in Illinois

       Education and Human Services 

Share of total grant dollars supporting general operating costs


Funding given by non-illinois foundation to illinois recipients

       $550.3 million

Share of Illinois Foundation Giving accounted for by Cook County


Illinois State Spending Eclipses Foundation Giving

Because the primary role of most private and community foundations is to provide funding, the public overestimates available charitable resources. In fact, 80 percent of private giving comes from individuals every year. It is often the view that foundations have the resources to fill government budget gaps, especially in difficult economic times. However, compared to government expenditures, foundation giving represents a small fraction of the total. While Illinois foundations provided $4.6 billion in 2016, the Illinois state budget General Revenue Fund for fiscal year 2016 totaled nearly $24 billion, and the budget deficit in the state in 2016 was estimated at $131.6 billion. 

The Outlook for Foundation Giving

Overall giving by the nation's private and community foundations reached $72.9 billion in 2017, surpassing previous record levels even after adjusting for inflation. 

  • For independent and family foundations, giving was up by an estimated 5 percent in 2017.
  • Communitey foundations increased their giving by an estimated 11 percent in 2017.
  • Corporate foundation giving was up 5 percent in 2017, following a similar rate of increase in giving the prior year. Despite a slight decrease in gifts received in 2016, assets were up nearly 7 percent. 

Looking ahead, Foundation Center projects giving by U.S. foundations will continue to increase ahead of inflation, provided that the economy benefits from healthy growth and the stock market flourishes. 

Download a copy of Giving in Illinois 2018 here.