Survey results


Differences in community foundation size are reflected in their different operating models and product focus.

Endowed and non-endowed assets

Smaller community foundations tend to have a much higher proportion of endowed assets than their larger counterparts, as do younger and emerging community foundations concentrating on growth. Community foundations in Indiana, many of whom were established through the Lilly endowment and occupy the two smaller asset size bands, are well-represented here.

Product mix

Larger community foundations tend to have higher proportions of assets in donor-advised funds, which, in combination with holding more in non-endowed assets, reflect an ability to provide flexible philanthropic vehicles to donors.

All respondents

  • Donor-advised funds
  • Discretionary funds
  • All other funds
Size of Foundation Donor-advised funds Discretionary funds All other funds
$0-$25M 15% 24% 61%
$25-$50M 15% 18% 68%
$50-$100M 24% 22% 53%
$100-$250M 29% 16% 54%
$250-$500M 31% 17% 52%
$500M+ 36% 23% 46%
All 24% 20% 57%

Distribution rates

Foundation-wide distribution rates increase along with overall asset size. A similar relationship between asset size and donor-advised fund distribution rate is observed. This is no small way can be attributable to the proportion of non-endowed assets held by larger foundations, which can tend to be more active grantmakers.

For every asset size cohort represented, the distribution rate of donor-advised funds, increasingly popular philanthropic vehicles, outpaces the foundation as a whole.

Size of Foundation Donor-Advised Funds Whole Foundation
<$25M 5% 4%
$25M - $50M 7% 4%
$50M - $100M 8% 5%
$100M - $250M 9% 6%
$250M - $500M 13% 7%
>$500M 12% 8%