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.

Delivered Monday, July 13 during the 2015 NAACP National Convention along with Senator Casey, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman G.K. Butterfield and more.

The full video remarks can be viewed here with Vikki Spruill starting at 1:11. 

Building Successful Collaborations in Philanthropy

This morning, Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill helped launch a new platform on the Huffington Post that highlights important developments and leading thinkers on social innovation. The blog features thoughts from leaders such as Clara Miller of the F.B. Heron Foundation and Maria Rodale of the Rodale Institute. 

On May 30, David Callahan, editor of Inside Philanthropy, published a short-sighted opinion piece on philanthropy in the New York Times. Given its reach, the Council believed that the piece warranted a strong and united response.

The 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey is now open. The survey collects information on benefits policies and practices, as well as compensation data for 35 positions at community, corporate, private, public, and operating foundations.

This week, American Bar Association (ABA) has selected the Council’s Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs Suzanne Friday for its prestigious “Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award” in recognition of “distinguished service by a nonprofit – in-house counsel.” This award is chosen by The Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association, Business Law Section, celebrating the work of accomplished and civic-minded nonprofit lawyers.

The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge today announced more than $106 million in new commitments to strengthen services and support for millions of veterans and military families throughout America. Six new grantmakers joined more than 30 philanthropic organizations and corporations that made the Impact Pledge since 2014.

Since last year’s Impact Pledge announcement of $170,000,000, an additional $106,225,000 has been committed (both cash and in-kind), bringing the total to $276,225,000. These new Impact Pledge members include:

The Council on Foundations applauds Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for introducing The Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2015 (S.1159). This measure would make permanent and expand the IRA charitable rollover, a valuable incentive for Americans to contribute to charitable organizations across the country their mandatory distributions from IRA accounts. The Council is also grateful for Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) co-sponsorship and support.

The Council on Foundations today announced the release of the 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. Salary information is provided for 35 executive, professional and administrative positions, and the report allows grantmakers to compare compensation to that of their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region.

This legislation includes several important provisions that will help charitable and philanthropic organizations serving communities in every Congressional District across the country. Specifically, H.R. 644 would permanently enact three temporary and currently expired giving incentives – the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced incentives for the donations of food inventory and land conservation easements. The measure also simplifies the excise tax rate on private foundation investment income.

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 25, 2014 - January 2, 2015. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please call our main number at 703-879-0600 and select "Membership" or e-mail us at membership@cof.org.