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.

On the heels of Foundations on the Hill and many blogs on the topic, some of you may be scratching your heads asking, can a foundation really talk to legislators, educate them about the issues important to your foundation’s mission, and advocate to better position philanthropy?

The short answer is: While there are limitations, private foundations and public charities can engage in a variety of advocacy activity. Here is just a sampling:

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