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.

As autumn begins, the research team at the Council inevitably sees an increase in the number of foundations seeking data on the salaries, benefits, and administrative expenses of their peers.

Today, Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations, supported by 18 other leading philanthropic and charitable organizations, urged Congress to take immediate action to make permanent the three currently expired charitable giving incentives that are part of the tax extenders package. Collectively representing tens of thousands of charities and foundations across the charitable sector, these organizations also held an event on Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the value of these incentives and sent a letter calling for swift legislative action.

The Public Policy and Legal Affairs team at the Council diligently follows and consistently engages on regulatory matters that impact the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. See below for comments and letters the Council has submitted on behalf of our members and the field to strengthen philanthropy.

Member CEOs are invited to the Winter Retreat for Foundation CEOs to be held December 9-10, at L’Auberge Resort in Del Mar, California (30 minutes north of San Diego).

As you know, organized philanthropy is experiencing many changes, especially executive transitions that are transforming not only specific foundations but the field in general. Transition, including succession planning, process, and strategic planning, demands a conversation that foundation leaders are eager to have. 

We have heard from many of you that it would be valuable to have some points to reference as you speak to your colleagues and board about the value of your engagement with the Council on Foundations.

Only you can authentically speak about your experience and reasons to continue your membership with the Council. Whether you attended a training session, met new colleagues at a conference, utilized research tools, or received valuable guidance from the legal team, these interactions help convey your positive experience with the Council.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • News from the Hill;
  • Happening in the States;
  • Philanthropy News & Op-Eds.

Read all this and more, online now!

The Council on Foundations will co-host a webinar with WINGS, European Foundation Center, and SDG Philanthropy Platform on October 21, 2016.