Arts Funding

An Update on Foundation Trends

The first half of the 1990s represented a period of instability in arts support. Dramatic cutbacks in federal funding and modest growth in giving from individual and corporate donors raised significant financial challenges for the arts community. Although they were but one part of a much larger funding mosaic, foundations represented a stable and growing source of funds. A buoyant stock market, gifts into endowments, and the creation of new philanthropies helped to raise foundation spending in all fields and bring substantial new resources to the arts field. Yet, despite a sharp rise in grant dollars, the arts' share of all funding lost ground.

Arts Funding: An Update on Foundation Trends represents The Foundation Center's third examination of the role of foundations supporting arts and culture. The Center's first study of national trends, Arts Funding: A Report on Foundation and Corporate Grantmaking Trends, mapped funding for the arts through the 1980s. Arts Funding Revisited: An Update on Foundation Trends in the 1990s carried the analysis through 1992. This latest study (released in November 1998) updates the status of arts giving trends through 1996 and includes several new features. All of these reports were developed in collaboration with Grantmakers in the Arts.

The new report analyzes just over 11,300 arts grants awarded circa 1996 by a sample of large private, corporate, and community foundations. It compares changes in arts giving with all foundation giving,and relates foundation funding trends to variations in government support, and provides extensive examinations of trends of specific to the arts field, such as

  • changes in distribution patterns by number of recipients and grant size
  • growth patterns by foundation type
  • difference in distribution patterns by state
  • funding trends by arts fields or disciplines
  • patterns of giving by grant purpose or type of support

Among the many enhancements included in the third edition of Arts Funding are

  • an overview of the "ecology" of all U.S. arts support
  • the Foundation Center's first-ever analysis of grantmaking by self-identified family foundations
  • extensive review of funding for children and youth
  • more detailed breakdowns of giving patterns by grant size
    analyses of arts support by region
  • examination of arts giving for intermediaries
  • exploration of the overlap between giving for arts and community development
  • several longitudinal graphics illustrating changes in arts funding since 1983

To order copies of Arts Funding: An Update on Foundation Trends, call The Foundation Center at (800) 424-9836 (in New York State, (212) 620-4230) or order online.