Traditionally, nonprofit organizations have focused their annual budgets and fundraising on programs and necessary operating expenses. Few have budgeted set amounts for future major capital expenses or to replace depreciated assets. When it came time for a major capital expense, especially a new building, nonprofits would often seek major grants from foundations. In the past, foundations generally served as the main source of capitalization in the nonprofit sector. Since the 2008 recession, however, more and more foundations have shifted their grants towards funding operating expenses, new program initiatives and organizational sustainability.

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