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 Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) urged Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the major party nominees for President of the United States, to support the full preservation of the charitable deduction in a letter the coalition sent to the candidates this week. Along with preserving the charitable deduction, the coalition pressed the candidates to support additional charitable giving incentives.

Registration is now open for the Council on Foundations’ 2017 Annual Conference — Leading Together — in Dallas, Texas, April 23-26, 2017. The Council’s annual conference is the premier event for the philanthropic sector, and Leading Together promises to be an immersive, thought-provoking experience dedicated to exploring the essential role that philanthropy plays in society to create transformational change.

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce the application period for its flagship leadership development program, Career Pathways, is open now through October 31, 2016. Through Career Pathways, the Council seeks to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline and develop a generation of diverse leaders who are committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own organizations and the broader philanthropic sector.

Hello, and welcome to New York City. I want to thank you for coming to our second annual Summit focused on finance and endowments.

Today, the Council on Foundations welcomes more than 200 foundation chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief investment officers, board members, and board investment committee leaders from across the country to its annual Endowments and Finance Summit.

This member update focused principally on important issues related to foundation financial management and endowment performance.

Today, the United States became the first high-income nation to join Kenya, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ghana as pilot countries in the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The global SDG Philanthropy Platform, managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Foundation Center, and UNDP, brings together foundations and philanthropists across the world to build partnerships between philanthropic organizations, the United Nations, governments, civil society, and business to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Why do the Sustainable Development Goals matter to philanthropy?

These broad global goals address the same problems that our field is tackling: to reduce poverty, improve livelihoods and quality of life, and create a more equitable global society. Looking at the range of issues in the SDGs, all funders can find their work within these collective goals, regardless of what type of foundation you are and whether you fund programs in 90 countries or focus your grantmaking on a specific community in the United States.

A new report released today by the Council on Foundations highlights the critical role that U.S. philanthropy plays in helping to realize the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study, “From Global Goals to Local Impact,” outlines in detail how the new global development framework is universally applicable to the work of U.S. foundations, and presents concrete ways in which funders can integrate the SDGs into their domestic grantmaking.

Many of our members are working with grantees on the ground in countries and communities directly impacted by terrorist violence, all over the world. Alongside partners like the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the Council is tracking how and where philanthropy is responding to these attacks, and we will share what we find with our members.


Crises where our international partners have established funds: