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.

One of the largest Atlantic tropical storms in nearly a decade, Hurricane Matthew roared across the Caribbean leaving a path of destruction across Haiti on its slow march north through Cuba, the Bahamas, and eventually, the southeast U.S. Hundreds of thousands have already been displaced by the category 4 storm that has resulted in a great need for water, sanitation, hygiene, food, and housing support.

The Council on Foundations, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and a panel of funders and responding disaster relief organizations conducted a webinar on how to address recovery. 

The Council on Foundations partnered with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy on a special issue of The Foundation Review examining the Future of Community. The issue explores aspects of the relationship between foundations and communities, addressing topics such as the redefinition of community, the effect of evolving demographics, and potential solutions to climate change.

Join two of the authors who contributed to the special issue in this webinar:

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce the application period for its flagship leadership development program, Career Pathways, is open now through October 31, 2016. Through Career Pathways, the Council seeks to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline and develop a generation of diverse leaders who are committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own organizations and the broader philanthropic sector.

In the United States, LGBTQ History Month is celebrated during the month of October. It is an annual observance of LGBTQ history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. LGBTQ History Month was first celebrated in 1994. Among the early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee for LGBT History Month was Council on Foundations Board Member and Arcus Foundation Executive Director, Kevin Jennings.

This post originally appeared in the Philanthropy Journal on September 26, 2016.

There’s little doubt that impact investing has generated a lot of excitement, but has it translated into action? The Council on Foundations and Commonfund Institute conducted a recent survey to ask foundations about their understanding, implementation, and perceptions of four “responsible investing” strategies:

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

Hello, and welcome to New York City. I want to thank you for coming to our second annual Summit focused on finance and endowments.

Here’s a story—a hypothetical one—what if Mike and Carol Brady established a foundation for their philanthropic giving?  As of late, Legal Affairs has seen an increase in inquiries both relating to and from family foundations. As such, we thought it would be ‘groovy’ to highlight some frequently asked questions, while paying homage to our favorite 70s TV family.

Today, the Council on Foundations welcomes more than 200 foundation chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief investment officers, board members, and board investment committee leaders from across the country to its annual Endowments and Finance Summit.

We are pleased to announce the release of the Council’s 2016 Salary Tables. This year’s tables include salary data from nearly 10,000 full-time positions in foundations and corporate giving programs (representing over $1 billion in total salaries).