Independent Foundations

Private foundations make grants based on charitable endowments. The endowment funds come from one or a small handful of sources -- an individual, a family or a corporation. Because of their endowments, they are focused primarily on grantmaking and generally do not raise funds or seek public financial support the way public charities (like community foundations) must.

Private independent foundations are distinct from private family or corporate foundations in that an independent foundation is not governed by the benefactor, the benefactor’s family or a corporation. Of the largest private foundations in the United States, most are independent foundations, although they may have begun as family foundations or were converted from corporate foundations. There is no official IRS or legal definition of independent foundations, so it is difficult to arrive at statistics that are fully representative of the field.

Below is everything on our site for independent foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

The Council on Foundations today announced that the nomination period for its 2017 Awards Program is open now through January 4, 2017.

We all knew that November was going to be a tumultuous month (if you hadn't heard, there's an election today). When the polls close and the dust settles, the country could be set on one of a number of starkly different paths. Perhaps because of this uncertainty, President Obama took the opportunity to lift up one of the few truly bipartisan issues by declaring November National Entrepreneurship Month.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

On Tuesday, November 8, Americans will go to the polls to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, 34 Senators, and the entire House of Representatives, as well as hundreds of state and local officials. And while interested parties may urge constituents to get involved and participate in the political process, 501(c)(3) organizations are limited with respect to their ability to get involved in political campaign activity.

As preparation for winter holidays begin earlier and earlier, the Council wants to provide an important resource for your year-end fundraising and grantmaking activities. The IRS provides a wealth of resources on charitable contribution deductions. While I’d enjoy writing details about each of them, I will spare you, and send you to the IRS directly.

Registration is open for our 2017 Annual Conference — Leading Together — in Dallas, Texas, next April 23-26, and we are asking our members to help us build the conference you want to attend. We have a call for sessions open until November 4, and we hope you will take this opportunity to share your ideas, innovative approaches to philanthropy, knowledge, and expertise to help strengthen this year’s programming.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

An inexperienced grants manager was nervous, dreadfully nervous.

One dark evening, a spirited major donor appeared at the community foundation. The donor, wanting to assist with local community improvements, recommended a grant from his donor advised fund (DAF) to the chamber of commerce, a 501(c)(6) non-charitable organization, for a street clean-up initiative.

After meeting with senior officials at the Department of Treasury, the Council submitted a letter on October 21, 2016 to Elinor Ramey, Attorney Advisor in the Office of Tax Policy regarding private foundations and how they may use donor advised funds (“DAFs”) to further their grantmaking activity. 

From Whitehall Road to Chancery Lane, government officials and charity leaders from numerous countries navigated London’s fashion week chaos last month in their most orthopedic shoes and ill-fighting business attire to discuss barriers to international grantmaking. Specifically, they discussed barriers related to terrorist financing, such as due diligence procedures delaying legitimate charitable funding and programs in places like Syria. The Council on Foundations attended this meeting to represent our members’ challenges to making international grants.