Percentage of donations over $50,000 from corporations, based on minimum disclosed amount

Corporate donations

Percentage of donations over $50,000 from foreign entities, based on minimum disclosed amount

Foreign donations

The data in these graphics are drawn from Brookings’s 2003 to 2013 annual reports. The reports list donations in ranges. The graphics are based on the lowest end of each range, indicating the minimum amount each donor gave in each instance. See the methodology section below for more information.

Brookings officials contend that analyzing the organization’s annual reports does not provide a fair characterization of its operations. For instance, Brookings officials say that the annual reports do not account for gifts that are spent over multiple years. They prefer calculating donations relative to annual expenses and provided summarized expense data for 2011 to 2014. It showed only a slight rise in contributions from corporate and foreign donors.

Donors giving at least $50,000

Arrange individual donors by donation range, institution type or if the donor is foreign.


The Washington Post examined donations of $50,000 and above as disclosed in Brookings’s 2003-2013 annual reports. The Post grouped each donor into one of four categories: corporations, foundations and nonprofits, individuals, and governments. Additionally, foreign donors were identified when possible.

Brookings’s reports do not disclose specific contribution amounts but instead categorize donors into ranges. The reported ranges examined by The Post were $50,000-$99,999; $100,000-$249,999; $250,000-$499,999; $500,000-$999,999; and, in most years, $1 million and above.

Brookings declined to provide specific contribution data to The Post.

The figures in the charts above were calculated by adding the minimum donation amount disclosed for each donor based on the donor’s contribution range. Using this approach, minimum corporate donations of at least $50,000 increased from 5 percent of minimum donations in 2003 to 22 percent in 2013. Similarly, minimum donations of at least $50,000 from foreign entities increased from 3 percent of minimum donations in 2003 to 18 percent in 2013.

Because of Brookings’s disclosure methods, precise donation figures for all donors are not publicly known. Relying on the minimum level of each range provides insight into the growing participation by certain donor types but can also understate that presence.

For instance, records compiled by the Foundation Center, which tracks philanthropic giving, show that the Rockefeller Foundation contributed $10 million to Brookings in 2010. Brookings’s annual report lists Rockefeller in the category that year of giving at least $1 million. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was listed in the same category by Brookings in 2007, while the Foundation Center reports its contribution that year to be $8.7 million.

SOURCE: Brookings Institution annual reports, 2003-2013