Drawing on the immense amount of data available at The Foundation Center, Foundation Search, Guidestar, and others, one can answer this question. It seems as though there is a misconception in the faith community about the number of foundations that state an interest in religious organizations and are accepting applications. There are approximately 100,000 foundations in the United States with almost $ 1 trillion in assets. The total number of foundations funding all forms of religious organizations is just over 50,000.
Of course, this does not tell the entire story for Christian organizations and churches. If we exclude foundations funding Atheism (2), Scientology (13), Judaism (7,646), Muslim/Islam (237), Hinduism (2), Buddhism (322), and Mormonism (323), this removes 10,543 foundations.
Where are the other 40,000 foundations interested in funding religious programs? They clearly state an interest in funding Christian organizations and churches and many of them focus on specific areas of ministry within the Christian community. Let me highlight some of the areas in which significant numbers of foundations state a funding interest.
Funding Area/Number of Supporting Foundations
Christian Schools 1,050
Religious Colleges and Universities 748
Salvation Army 7,002
Catholic Churches, Schools, Programs 9,040
Prison Ministries 137
Christian Churches (general) 6,986
There are 10,000-15,000 additional foundations focused on specific denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc), evangelical programs and evangelism, specific countries, or particular types of programs and services (homeless, feeding, children, discipleship, etc.).
So, as you can see, there are HUGE numbers of foundations interested in funding programs for Christian Ministries and Churches.
The other contention seems to be: How many of these foundations are accepting applications?
In general, about 54% of all foundations are accepting applications at any given moment. Regarding foundations focused on Religion, the amount is actually significantly higher with about 63% of foundations accepting applications at any given moment.
This means there are about 40,000 foundations in the United States which target Christian Ministries and Churches. Of these, about 25,000 are actually accepting applications at any given moment.
What is meant by “accepting applications at any given moment”?
Just because a foundation is not accepting applications today does not mean they will not start funding new applicants tomorrow. Foundations periodically stop accepting applications to focus on existing grantees, due to a decrease in available funding, or to conduct an internal evaluation of their priorities. The 15,000 foundations not accepting applications today will not be the same 15,000 foundations not accepting applications next month.
To be totally forthright, there are between 5,000 and 10,000 foundations in the United States that are consistent in their support of Christian Ministries and Churches. These are the foundations Here-4-You Consulting focuses on in our daily work with clients around the world.
How do we know all this? Because this is what we do and where we have been called to serve in the Kingdom. Some people called to ministry serve as missionaries, teach at a Christian School, pastor a church, evangelize unreached people, work with the homeless, and engage in many other duties that honor Christ.
I feel called to serve Christ by helping all of these other organizations find the funding and support to continue their ministry and to serve God.