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 on Foundations is pleased to announce the four new members of its board of directors, each of whom will serve for three years. Elected at the Council’s 2016 annual conference on April 11, Tonya Allen, the president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, Tony Mestres, the president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation, and R. Randall Royster, the president and CEO of the Albuquerque Community Foundation, join the Council’s 17-member board.

The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge today announced $7 million in new investments to strengthen services and support for millions of veterans and military families across the United States. With their commitments, PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., Orange County Community Foundation, and CarMax and The CarMax Foundation join the 32 philanthropic organizations and corporations that have pledged since 2014. Through grants and other forms of support, nearly $283 million has been committed in the Impact Pledge to date.

The Council on Foundations exists to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools philanthropic organizations need to make a meaningful difference. As a national organization with a large and diverse membership, the Council possesses a unique ability to offer strategic leadership for philanthropy in its many forms.

In helping foundations LEAD TOGETHER, the Council aims to help grantmakers leverage their resources for common purposes.

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.

On February 19, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations regarding the prohibition on certain contributions to Type I and Type III supporting organizations and the requirements for Type III supporting organizations. 

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.