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.

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.

In the last year, there has been a spike in the number of refugees fleeing into Europe. There are still three-and-a-half months left in 2015, but the number of arriving refugees this year is already more than double the amount from all of 2014. The camps and centers that some refugees are forced to stay in are overcrowded and often lack food, water and other basic necessities.

The Council submitted comments to the Department of Treasury regarding the Form 990. These comments highlighted elements of the Form that our Legal Affairs team receives inquiries about most often, and that we've found to create issues for participants of our National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program.

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.