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March 14, 2023

How Pew Charitable Trusts Spends Revenue (2021)

by Anne Paddock

The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT) was established by the Pew family as a “global public policy change agent” and was changed from a status of private foundation to tax-exempt, non-profit in 2004 which allows the organization to raise funds freely and devote up to 5% of annual expenditures to lobbying the public sector.  Although PCT is “non-partisan,” the founders were conservative.

PCT appears to be involved in two major processes:  making grants and supporting the staff who manage the organization and related organizations.

There are 10 members of the governing body, 9 of whom are independent; 7 of whom share the Pew name.

In 2021, PCT reported total revenue of $343 million (compared to $347 million in 2020 and $355 million in 2019) most of which ($290 million) came from related organizations ( 7 organizations with 501 (c) 3 status:  The Pew Memorial Trust, Mary Anderson Trust, J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust, J N Pew, Jr Charitable Trust, Knollbrook Trust, Medical Trust, and the Mabel Pew Myrin Trust) and investment income/gains on investments ($43 million).

It is important to note the largest revenue source for PCT is the Pew Memorial Trust, a non-profit based in Philadelphia, PA with an estimated $3-4 billion in net assets.  Pew Memorial Trust has used Glenmeade Trust  Co as trustee and consequently paid approximately $12 million in management fees in 2020 (the most recent info available).

Expenses totaled $341 million (not including $7 million in depreciation) with the largest expenses categorized as follows:

  • $148 million (43% of revenue):  Grants
  • $140 million (41% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $ 24 million (7% of revenue):  Fees for Services
  • $ 20 million (6% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $  7 million (2% of revenue):  Other Expenses (interest, travel, conferences, parking garage, etc)
  • $  2 million (1% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion

As illustrated above, the latest two expenses were compensation ($150 million for 1,056 employees for an average compensation of $142,000) and grants ($138 million).

Grants were made to domestic organizations ($138 million) and foreign organizations ($10 million).  Domestically, PCT made 356 grants greater than $5,000, 351 to other tax-exempt non-profits. The 11 largest recipients were reported to be:

  • $33 million:  Pew Research Ctr (note: Grantee donated $34 million to PCT in same year) for info
  • $15  million:  Ducks Unlimited of Memphis, TN for policy (via 2 grants)
  • $15 million:  Pro Publica, of New York, NY for DAF grant
  • $14 million:  University of the Arts, of Philadelphia, PA for civic life
  • $ 6 million:  Leland Stanford Junior College, of Palo Alto, CA for policy (via 2 grants)
  • $ 5 million:  Middlebury College, of Middlebury, VT for DAF grant
  • $ 2 million:  Bridgespan Group, of Boston, MA for civic llife
  • $ 1 million:  National Conference of State Legislatures, of Denver, CO for policy
  • $ 1 million:  Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, of Philadelphia, PA for civic life
  • $ 1 million:  Tufts University, of Somerville, MA for policy
  • $ 1 million:  School of Leadership – Afghanistan, of West Palm Beach, FL for DAF grant

Fees for Services were primarily for “other” services with no detail provided.

Using the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 43:  Grants

$ 57:  Remaining Revenue

-$ 41: Compensation

-$  7:  Fees for Services

-$  6:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  2:  Other Expenses

-$  1:  Advertising and Promotion

-$57: Subtotal: Compensation, Fees, Office, Other, Advertising

 $  0:  Remaining Revenue

As illustrated above, $43 out of every $100 was spent on grants while $57 out of every $100 was spent on organization expenses (primarily compensation, fees, and office-related expenses.

PCT had $1 billion in net assets at year-end (up from $900 million at the beginning of the year) with the improvement due to about $100 million in unrealized gains on investments.

To read the IRS Form 990(2020 for the year ending June 30, 2021), click here.

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