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 submitted a letter on March 31, 2016 in response to a request for information (RFI) issued in February by the Multistate Registration and Filing Project (MRFP)—an organization that works with the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) to consolidate the information and data requirements of all states that require registration of nonprofit organizations performing charitable solicitations within their jurisdictions. 

Leaders from 42 foundations announced today that they have “banned the box” by adopting fair chance hiring policies or ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on applications for employment with their foundations. They also issued a challenge to all U.S. philanthropic institutions to follow suit and eliminate barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records.

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.