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.

Engage your lawmakers on issues vital to the sector

Ask your Senators to Co-Sponsor S. 2750

In April of 2016, Senators Thune and Wyden introduced the Charities Helping Americans Regularly Throughout the Year Act (S. 2750). This important bill supports the daily work of foundations to strengthen their communities.

Take action by urging your Senators to co-sponsor this important legislation.

The policy issues that impact philanthropy are wide-ranging. The Council’s team of policy and legal experts regularly monitors and tracks proposals impacting individual giving incentives, tax code provisions that impact the business operations of foundations, IRS regulatory proposals, Administrative actions, policies affecting cross-border philanthropy, public-philanthropic partnership developments, and much more.

Our issue pages include the latest developments on policies that will impact your foundation’s work, including:

The Council on Foundations is proud to release two new resources:

The 2014 Grantmakers Salary Tables is one of the best sources of data on staff compensation at U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs.

Youth and young adults are engaging with each other and their communities in many different and new ways that affect their philanthropic activities. Both formal and informal structures to support youth and young adult philanthropy are now emerging, building on the long tradition of youth philanthropy in the community foundation field. Many community philanthropic organizations are working with young people to help them become more engaged with their communities, but are not aware of the innovative work going on in other countries.

Democratic Practice