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 announced today that 24 promising philanthropic leaders have been selected to participate in the fourth Career Pathways Program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector's senior executives.

Shortly after the 2016 election, the Council on Foundations announced it had hired veteran nonprofit executive Chris Gates as executive vice president for external affairs, a new position.

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 24, 2016 - January 2, 2017. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please dial the membership line directly at 703-879-0645 or email Membership at membership@cof.org.

This past Friday a diverse group of philanthropic leaders gathered in New York City to discuss the unexpected election results, what those results mean for our nation and what they mean for our work, both individually and as a sector. The meeting, convened by the Council on Foundations and hosted by the Ford Foundation, included representatives of private foundations, community foundations and corporate grant makers who came from all four time zones of the country. As you will see from the notes below, the group was diverse in every way, including diversity of perspective.

Following up on the webinar we presented in August on the overtime rule that was issued by the Department of Labor in May, we wanted to inform the field that a federal judge in Texas has issued a nationwide injunction to halt the implementation of this rule.

The Council on Foundations today announced that the nomination period for its 2017 Awards Program is open now through January 18, 2017.

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. 

The Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) urged Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the major party nominees for President of the United States, to support the full preservation of the charitable deduction in a letter the coalition sent to the candidates this week. Along with preserving the charitable deduction, the coalition pressed the candidates to support additional charitable giving incentives.

Registration is now open for the Council on Foundations’ 2017 Annual Conference — Leading Together — in Dallas, Texas, April 23-26, 2017. The Council’s annual conference is the premier event for the philanthropic sector, and Leading Together promises to be an immersive, thought-provoking experience dedicated to exploring the essential role that philanthropy plays in society to create transformational change.