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The nation’s economic downturn has pushed foundation giving down even further in the last year, according to a report released by the Foundation Center last week. The country’s nearly 65,000 grantmaking foundations doled out an estimated $29.7 billion last year, down from $30.4 billion in 2002. That decline of 2.5 percent marked the second consecutive year of decline from the sector’s ten-year peak of $30.5 billion in 2001, but still left giving rates at nearly two-and-a-half times their level in 1993. The drop in giving was not spread equally among foundation types, however: Community foundations saw an overall, if modest, increase in giving, while corporate foundations saw their first decline in giving since the center began tracking giving rates in 1987. Independent foundations also reported a decrease. Still, says the report, the future looks modestly better: Of the 900 foundations that responded to a recent survey, nearly one-half said they expect to expand their giving in 2004, while more than one-third planned to keep giving levels steady. [04/12/04]