The Fondation de France has published the 2022 Philanthropy Barometer study conducted by the Observatoire de la Philanthropie. This latest edition shows a buoyant sector despite the two-year health crisis. The number of philanthropic structures is increasing, and their economic weight is growing: the desire to contribute to the common interest is the strongest it has been in 20 years.
The number of foundations has more than doubled in 20 years, reaching 2,800 active structures in 2021. When endowment funds are taken into account, that number rises to 5,000, according to the latest Philanthropy Barometer published on 7 April. Another strong trend is the tripling of the number of sheltered foundations over the same period, from 571 in 2001 to 1,589 in 2021.
“This review of the last two decades shows the extent of the philanthropy sector’s continued growth and its resilience in the face of the crisis, with the number of foundations and endowment funds having increased by a further 6% compared to 2020. This growth is driven mainly by the development of sheltered foundations and endowment funds, which represent three quarters of philanthropic structures in France”, explains Anne Cornilleau, Head of Studies and Projects at the Observatoire de la Philanthropie.
When it comes to the economic weight of foundations, the trend is also positive: over almost twenty years, the assets and expenditure of philanthropic structures have both increased fourfold to 32 billion euros in assets and almost 12 billion euros in expenditure in the common interest in 2020 (figures for 2021 not available). Whilst this vitality in the sector is encouraging, it is important to note that some foundations have suffered a decline in their resources as a result of the health crisis, particularly operating structures and smaller structures.
Sheltered foundations: an attractive model for families and companies
The growth in the number of sheltered foundations can be explained partly by an increasing willingness among individuals to contribute to the common interest. Underpinning this way of thinking is the desire to construct a shared and intergenerational project based on family ties. At the same time, more and more companies are engaging in philanthropy by setting up foundations, in order to align with corporate social responsibility (CSR) values or to continue support initiated in response to the health emergency.
In order to gain a better understanding of these developments, the Barometer has devoted a special report to them, illustrated by several testimonies from new founders. Meanwhile, the Fondation de France welcomed 46 new foundations in 2021, of which half are family-run and half are corporate. Thanks to the methodological and legal support it offers, the sheltered foundation model meets the needs of many wishing to engage in philanthropy. Most of all, it gives founders the opportunity to join a network of committed philanthropists with whom they can share experiences and explore joint initiatives.
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