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September 24, 2020
Health, Education Nonprofits Receive Lion's Share of Grants
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June 18, 2020 — Massachusetts nonprofits focused on health and education receive the lion's share— 56.8%— of dollars granted by Massachusetts-based foundations, according to a report released yesterday, the first of its kind in more than 15 years.

According to Giving Massachusetts 2020, published by Philanthropy Massachusetts, a Boston-based regional association of grant makers, health-focused organizations received $1.68 billion, or 30.5%, of all foundation funds granted by Massachusetts-based foundations in 2017, the most recent year for which there is a near complete tally of foundation giving.

Education-oriented organizations received $1.45 billion, or 26.3%, of all foundation dollars that same year, according to the report.

Giving then declined dramatically, with human services organizations garnering the next largest share of foundation dollars – $414 million, or 7.5%, of all giving by Massachusetts-based foundations in 2017.

In terms of numbers of grants awarded in 2017, education organizations were the top grantees, receiving 16,923, or 26.2%, of all grants awarded that year by Massachusetts-based foundations.

Second most number of grants went to human services organizations, which received 10,812, or 16.7% of all grants, followed by health organizations.

While science and engineering organizations received only 1.9% of the grants, those grants averaged $238,774, the highest among the 18 categories of organizations. Health-focused entities ranked second in terms of average grants size: $194,217 per grant.

Other key findings from the report, include the following:

  • In 2017, there were 3,481 Massachusetts-based independent, corporate, community, and operating foundations.

  • Massachusetts foundation assets reached $29.4 billion and giving surpassed $2.0 billion in 2017.
  • Giving by private, independent or family foundations made up 81% of grant dollars distributed; 10% of funding was distributed by corporate foundations, 8% by community foundations, and 1% by operating foundations.

  • Massachusetts is home to 16 community foundations that collectively held $1.9 billion in assets and gave $189 million in 2017.

  • Massachusetts received a total of $4.5 billion in grant dollars in 2017, one-third of which was provided by Massachusetts-based grant makers.

The following table summarizes grants made by Massachusetts-based foundations in 2017 to organizations in the state, according to Giving Massachusetts 2020.

Category Total Grants Millions of $
Health 8674 1684.9
Education 16923 1454.4
Human Services 10812 414.2
Community, Economic Dev 3556 301.9
Science, Engineering 1207 288.2
Arts and Culture 5559 259.6
Philanthropy, Nonprofit Mgnt 1334 162.5
Environment, Animals 3507 162.4
Human Rights 1990 144.2
Public Affairs 1094 110.4
Information, Communication 1234 102
Religion 2206 89.1
Public Safety 1215 79.2
International Relations 1055 78.3
Social Sciences 418 70.7
Other 1566 44.9
Agricuture, Fishing, Foresty 611 40.9
Sports/Recreation 1605 40.6
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