Foundation Expenses and Compensation

Research Report

Foundation Expenses and Compensation

How Operating Characteristics Influence Spending


This study documents how foundation characteristics such as giving amount, asset size and staffing, and activities such as international giving and operating a "charitable" facility or research program, affect the expense levels at the 10,000 largest independent, corporate, and community foundations. The report shows that most foundations report modest expenses; the vast majority are unstaffed; and many are run largely by unpaid trustees. Staffing is the most significant factor affecting expenses, regardless of type. The largest foundations tend to compensate at the highest amounts, but their median percentages of compensation to giving are among the lowest.

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