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.

When I noticed late last year that the Council on Foundations’ annual conference would focus on climate change, I was delighted. For The Fund for New Jersey and other place-based funders, climate change has been a daunting challenge. We are a small foundation in a state with no coal-fired plants and we anticipated from the beginning that there would be a limit to what we could accomplish on this global problem.

The Council on Foundations Job Board

The Council on Foundations Philanthropic Career Center is the home for foundation careers and jobs in the United States and around the world. This job board is the premier recruitment site for foundations looking to hire foundation professionals.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

This post also appeared as an op-ed in the Huffington Post on July 19, 2016.

Sustainability. Quality education. Poverty reduction. Gender equality.

If this list sounds familiar to individuals working in philanthropy or non-profits in the U.S., it should. Our sector is synonymous with these issues in part because our nation suffers from many of them, despite being the wealthiest country on the planet.

A new report released today by the Council on Foundations highlights the critical role that U.S. philanthropy plays in helping to realize the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study, “From Global Goals to Local Impact,” outlines in detail how the new global development framework is universally applicable to the work of U.S. foundations, and presents concrete ways in which funders can integrate the SDGs into their domestic grantmaking.

Many of our members are working with grantees on the ground in countries and communities directly impacted by terrorist violence, all over the world. Alongside partners like the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the Council is tracking how and where philanthropy is responding to these attacks, and we will share what we find with our members.


Crises where our international partners have established funds:

Everyone who works in philanthropy has a different and interesting story of how they “found” the field. For many, it is a story of starting in philanthropy after a long career in another industry. Others tell a different story: you need not wait to become a philanthropist. Around the world, a growing movement of young people is not waiting to be a part of the change made possible by philanthropy. 

A severe storm system on June 22 dumped torrential rain, tornadoes, high winds, and large hail across West Virginia and Virginia, causing the most deadly flash flood event the U.S.

Sustainable Development Goals

What are the Sustainable Development Goals and how is the Council involved?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a 17-goal framework for global development. These global goals provide a framework for foundations to lead together with governments, civil society, and the private sector for the next 15 years to create a better world, in the US and around the globe.