What Drives Foundation Expenses and Compensation?

Results of a Three-Year Study

Elizabeth T. Boris, Loren Renz, Mark A. Hager, Rachel Elias, and Mahesh Somashekhar

2008, 104 pages. The Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 20037, www.urban.org; The Foundation Center, 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10003, www.foundationcenter.org; GuideStar, 4801 Courthouse Street, Suite 220, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, www.guidestar.org


This study looks at characteristics and activities of the 10,000 largest grantmaking foundations and documents the ways that differences in these factors affect foundations' spending patterns. It focuses specifically on charitable administrative expenses, those expenses that relate exclusively to programs and count toward the federal government's five percent minimum payout requirement for private foundations. The new report confirms and extends findings from an initial report published in 2006, Foundation Expenses and Compensation: How Operating Characteristics Influence Spending. This report fills a data gap by providing information and analyses about foundation administrative expenses, compensation levels of executive staff and board members, and the factors that determine both types of expenditures.