Grant Services - Advice and Tips

State of Foundation Grant Giving in Illinois

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 16:06 PM / by Michelle Hansen

"Follow the Money." It makes sense to search for funding sources in the areas that grant makers tend to fund.  This blog discusses some trends to help you understand where you might want to be looking.

The Foundation Center, in cooperation with Donors Forum, recently released a document detailing the status of grant giving in Illinois in 2010. The Foundation Center is a leading source of information about philanthropy, and the Donors Forum is amoney community of Illinois grant makers, nonprofits, and advisors. The study found that the state of Illinois has a productive and growing foundation grant-making community that funds a variety of issues from sciences to education to medical research. The following is a detailed look at the status of foundation grant making in Illinois in 2010, the most recent year from which statistics are available.

Illinois Giving

In 2010, there were 4,031 foundations in Illinois, ranging in sructure from private, family, corporate, and community; and varying in size and giving capability. Illinois foundation giving reached a record $2.4 billion in 2010, up 81 percent from 2000. By comparison, giving by U.S. foundations overall increased just 66 percent in that same period of time. Illinois foundations have shown annual growth in all but one year during the past decade. Foundations in the state were not immune to complications from the country’s recession in 2008. Assets dropped just over 16 percent in 2008. They recovered minimally in the following year, but had a stronger recovery in 2010. However, the assets reported by Illinois foundations in 2010 (27.9 billion) were still well below the peak level.

Types of Foundations

Almost 9 out of 10 foundations in Illinois are independent or family foundations. The state’s largest by assets, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, is also responsible for the majority of foundation giving. However, the Abbott Patient Assistance Foundation, which distributes medications to patients with financial hardships, was by far the state’s largest foundation by giving in 2010. A different type of foundation is the public foundation. Public foundations both raise money from the public and serve as grant makers. Normally, these types of foundations award grants in specific issue areas rather than geographic areas. The Foundation Center currently tracks over 300 of these types of foundations in the state. Additionally, the state of Illinois also boasts corporate foundations, which gave more than $222 million in 2010. Peoria-based Caterpillar Foundation was at the top of that list. Illinois is also home to 24 community foundations, most of them small, with all but eight awarding combined grants of less than $1 million. With a diverse group of foundations throughout the state, grant seekers have a lot of choices when looking for funding for a project or program. A helpful notion is to match your targeted funding program with a foundation that supports that specific area, thereby increasing your chances of receiving the grant money. Additionally, keep in mind that larger foundations will likely have more opportunities and money available while smaller foundations may have less resources, making their programs more competitive.

Money Stays in the State

While the foundations in Illinois award grants to national and international projects, the majority of giving stayed in the state in 2010. Of the more than 6,500 grants awarded by sampled foundations, 54.6 percent were given to recipients in the state. Therefore, if your funding area will have an impact on residents or infrastructure within the state, you are at a higher likelihood to receive funding. Outside the state, the largest shares were given to the District of Columbia and New York, where most national and international organizations are based. Roughly 9 percent of giving from Illinois foundations was earmarked for international projects.

Focus of Giving

Education (27.1 percent) and human services (23.5 percent) accounted for the highest areas of funding in 2010. The majority of the education grants were allocated toward funding for higher and graduate level education as well as pre-collegiate education. Compared to U.S. foundations, Illinois grant recipients benefitted from a larger share of arts and culture funding in 2010. On the other hand, Illinois funders were less likely to fund health, international affairs, public affairs, science, and technology issues, compared to other U.S. foundations. Most of the giving from Illinois foundations was targeted toward program support, accounting for 42.5 percent of overall grant dollars in 2010. General operating costs received the second largest share of funding, 30 percent. Economically disadvantaged (27.5 percent) and children and youth (21.8 percent) were the largest specific groups to benefit from Illinois foundation funding. Cook County benefited from the largest share of Illinois foundation grant funding in 2010. Champaign County, home to the University of Illinois, garnered the second most Illinois foundation grant monies.

The Grant Helpers can help pair you with the best funding source for your needs. Our services are customizable, designed to work hand-in-hand with you from project planning to grant application to project implementation. Are you ready to get started? Just contact one of our expert Grant Helpers, and remember the first consultation is always free.


Photo Credit: AMagill


Topics: finding grants, grant trend, funding trend, funding sources, state of Illinois giving, finding funding, Illinois foundations

Michelle Hansen

Written by Michelle Hansen

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