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' 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey is now closed. The 2014 Salary Tables will be published this fall and the full report will be released in early 2015.

The survey collects information on benefits policies and practices, as well as compensation data for 35 positions at community, corporate, private, public, and operating foundations. New to this year's report:

At the White House last week, foundation executives, including the Council’s President and CEO Vikki Spruill, met with senior Administration officials for a roundtable on the future of impact investing. A complement to charitable giving and foundation grantmaking, impact investing offers a powerful opportunity to provide cash, loans, or equity capital to an organization, fund, or company that intends to generate measurable social or environmental impacts, alongside financial returns.

In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

When Jessica David was wondering how to support her new hire, who was tasked with telling her foundation’s story online, she turned to her peers for advice.

With partnerships being very important in making the most of innovative ideas, how does one develop an authentic partnership? In a recent situation, I developed a partnership with several individuals to implement an idea at a large conference. Here are the lessons I learned:

In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

  • Senate Tax Reform Hearings
  • Lost Lois Lerner E-mails
  • Social Impact Bond Act Introduced in House
  • NOTICE Act Introduced in Senate
  • Political Activity Rules Could be Expanded, Commissioner Says
  • 2013 Giving USA Numbers Released
  • Form 990 Data Availability
  • Can Philanthropy "Fix" Democracy?

Read it online now!

How can we engage older residents while tapping their expertise? In 2006, The New York Community Trust responded to an invitation from Atlantic Philanthropies offering challenge to get people over 60 involved as they improve life for everyone in their communities. Atlantic’s effort, called the Community Experience Partnership, used this tagline: “in the 60s they changed the world, in their 60s they might do it again.”

At the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., some funders were expressing a move toward a new way of doing business with their grantees. Accountability has long been a theme in grantmaking. It has traditionally been top-down – foundations being held accountable to the people whose money they are spending and grantees being held accountable to the foundations.

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