According to the summary report (still waiting to diving into the details), giving by community foundations grew 9.1 percent last year, which helped to bolster total foundation giving to a 4.4 percent increase. The report notes that operating and independent foundations increased grant making by 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
While these are good numbers (and in this economy, any number in the black is a good number), my key concern is that the real growth in foundation giving was felt among foundations where philanthropy is donor-driven/donor-designated. While many community foundations have robust competitive grants programs, I suspect that these programs likely grew at the same rate as operating and independent foundations.
So, when it comes to competitive grants — that is, those grants where you can openly apply for a gift — it looks like we are dealing with a 3.5/4.0% growth rate in giving. More than respectable, but will it be enough to include new grantees or significantly increased gifts?