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The Humanities, Arts, and Education

Foundation Funding to the Humanities Fell During Recession

Preliminary data from the Foundation Center shows that the one thousand largest private and community foundations in the country gave $416 million for humanities-related activities in 2012 – 18 percent below the $508 million reported in 2008. At the same time, the humanities share of all foundation giving fell from 2.1 percent to 1.8 percent. For additional details on our data source, and more specific breakdowns on how the funds are allocated, see the item on Foundation Funding in the Humanities Indicators. (Note: Since the forum was posted, the Foundation Center revised their estimates with final numbers for 2012. See the “Foundation Funding” for the most current data.)

In this forum, two distinguished experts on foundation funding provide additional context and perspective on the findings. Stanley N. Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies and Director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. James Allen Smith is currently Vice President and Director of Research and Education at the Rockefeller Archive Center. He previously served as Waldemar A. Nielsen Professor of Philanthropy at Georgetown University and Executive Director of The Howard Gilman Foundation.


June 19, 2014

Continuity, Questions, and Foundation Funding to the Humanities

posted by James Allen Smith

Foundation funding patterns change very slowly; they move over the decades, if at all. When the Twentieth Century Fund began to survey foundation giving in the late 1920s, they found that just under 2 percent, about $1 million of the $52 million given More...

June 19, 2014

Missing Pieces in the Foundation Funding Data

posted by Stanley N. Katz

The overall pattern shown by the change in foundation giving to humanities activities seems clear enough. There was a substantial increase in the percentage of humanities giving (in relation to all foundation giving) from 2002 to 2007 (43 percent), then a decline of 18 percent over the next More...



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