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 part of its advocacy work, the Council may weigh in on, or participate in, important legal cases when significant issues arise that will impact our members and the field. The Council’s participation is often as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) whereby the Council, although not a party to the litigation, authors or co-authors a legal brief to inform the Court of its position on an issue and to assist the Court in making a decision in the case.

Networking Events

#COFAnnual is the place to connect with leaders in philanthropy, government, and other sectors — and to create future opportunities for collaboration. While every minute at #COFAnnual is an opportunity to network, these events are tailored for you to socialize and introduce you to new contacts.


Sunday, April 23

New Attendee Welcome Reception

Sunday, April 23 — 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary: Philanthropy's Role in Vibrant Communities

Monday, April 24 - 8:45-10:15 a.m.

Awards Programming

Join the Council in honoring exemplars in the field of philanthropy at our 2017 Annual Conference. The Council will present the 2017 Distinguished Service Award and Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications at the Annual Meeting of the Members, and the Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships will be presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Council on Foundations at a special salon.

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.

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.

The Advocacy Toolkit is designed to be a central resource for Council members and others engaged in the philanthropic space to learn about why it is important—now more than ever—for philanthropy to have a voice in policy, how to effectively use advocacy and lobbying to advance your mission, what the most critical or priority “asks” are for the sector at any given time, and

The Council submitted comments to the IRS on a proposed rule that outlined a handful of regulations for Type I and Type III supporting organizations. Introduced in February 2016, we identified two proposed regulations that are relevant for our sector: