Private 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 foundation” is the umbrella term that includes corporate, independent, family, and operating foundations.  As of 2011, there were 73,764 private foundations in the United States (Foundation Center, 2011).  

In 2011, private foundations held more than $604 billion in assets and gave away more than $45 billion (Foundation Center, 2011).  

Below is everything on our site for private foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 24, 2016 - January 2, 2017. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please dial the membership line directly at 703-879-0645 or email Membership at membership@cof.org.

This past Friday a diverse group of philanthropic leaders gathered in New York City to discuss the unexpected election results, what those results mean for our nation and what they mean for our work, both individually and as a sector. The meeting, convened by the Council on Foundations and hosted by the Ford Foundation, included representatives of private foundations, community foundations and corporate grant makers who came from all four time zones of the country. As you will see from the notes below, the group was diverse in every way, including diversity of perspective.

View from space of sunrise over the earth

2017 will be a year of change, as orthodoxies in the field get tested and philanthropy steps up and into a more prominent national role.


In early December 2016, the Chinese government released the official and final version of their new Guidelines on Organizational Registration and Temporary Activities Reporting. These guidelines provide needed information for compliance with the 2016 Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China (Overseas NGO Law).

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Update on Tax Reform Progression in the Senate
  • Charitable Giving Coalition Sends Letter to President-elect Trump
  • Final Chinese Overseas NGO Law Guidelines Released
  • States Acting to Address Budget Challenges
  • Princeton Settlement Spawns Copycat Property Tax Exemption Challenge

American Flag

The American public is divided in its attitudes toward important national issues, and historic allegiances have shifted.


Abraham Lincoln

"In this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed." ~ Abraham Lincoln


An elephant with

Banksy's Elephant in a Room. Ignore it at your peril.