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.

Today, the Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the 2016 HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. HUD and the Council are seeking nominations from charitable foundations working with the public sector to improve the neighborhoods and the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents.

The Council on Foundations has named Hadar Susskind its Vice President of Public Policy, a new position intended to advance the Council’s public policy work on behalf of its members. Hadar joins the Council’s nationally recognized Public Policy and Legal Affairs team led by Sue Santa.

Charitable organizations from around the country applaud Congress for the bipartisan, bicameral passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

The legislation will enhance charitable giving by making three essential tax incentives permanent, demonstrating a commitment from Congress to strengthen the charitable community’s ability to continue to improve American lives and our communities. The charitable sector worked closely with Congress to educate members and their staff about the difference these incentives make.

Today we celebrate a major victory for community foundations and your donors.

Just before noon on December 18, the Senate voted to pass the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act making the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent law.

The bill, which passed the House on December 17, also makes permanent the enhanced deductions for conservation easement and food inventory contributions.

For donors to take advantage of the IRA Charitable Rollover this year, the President must still sign this bill into law.

Friends and Colleagues,

Last December, I spoke of 2014 as a Year of Action, and it was! We began putting into place the programs, services, and staff we knew would provide value to our members. In 2015, we’ve begun to see these foundational investments pay off, and I hope you’ve begun to see how our work strengthens yours.

Moments ago the House of Representatives passed the PATH Act making the IRA Charitable Rollover and two other charitable giving incentives permanent law. Members of the House showed strong bipartisan support for these important measures with a vote of 318 - 109.

Today, the Council on Foundations releases the following statement from its Vice President of Communications Jesse Salazar:

“The Council on Foundations provides leadership opportunities and tools philanthropic organizations need to make a meaningful difference in the life of communities.  As a national organization with a large and diverse membership, the Council is the principal voice for philanthropy. The Council focuses its work on strengthening the field and promoting its value, especially with policymakers and the public.  

Today, Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations, supported by 18 other leading philanthropic and charitable organizations, urged Congress to take immediate action to make permanent the three currently expired charitable giving incentives that are part of the tax extenders package. Collectively representing tens of thousands of charities and foundations across the charitable sector, these organizations also held an event on Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the value of these incentives and sent a letter calling for swift legislative action.

On September 25th at the United Nations, 193 countries ratified the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global targets that will serve as a new global framework for how governments, philanthropy, non-profits, and the private sector can work together to address challenges all of us and the communities we serve face on a local and global scale. Council staff have been participating in conversations about achieving these goals and philanthropy’s critical role in this endeavor.