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 2013 Grantmakers Salary Tables provide aggregate information on U.S. foundation and corporate giving program staff salaries and benefits. Free to participants and Council members and $159 for nonmembers, the tables compile data on more than 8,000 full-time employees from across the country. Mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentiles are provided.

The report explores the ways in which infrastructure organizations think about the value and the mechanics of collaboration—the drivers and barriers to collaborative work—and to determine ways to encourage more effective partnerships. The publication features a framework for understanding different types of collaboration, a set of recommendations for better collaboration, and a series of case studies that show a range of partnerships that tease out the potential benefits and challenges of various kinds of collaboration.

Closing a nonprofit charitable institution presents a range of unknowns to the grantmaking community. In this analysis, authors John Dickason and Duncan Neuhauser provide guidance to foundations considering whether to create a time-limited foundation or bring a foundation to an end. Topics include managing finances, grants, human and physical resources, archives, history and records.

Understanding the challenges of currency fluctuations on international grantmaking, and taking action to minimize their impact can ensure that this natural process does not become an added barrier to overseas giving. This resource focuses on some of the challenges foundations and giving programs and their grantees face as a result of fluctuating currency exchange rates, and highlights various ways that U.S. grantmakers are dealing with them in their international grantmaking activities.

The most comprehensive annual survey of its kind on private foundation investment practices and governance. The 140 foundations participating in the 2012 CCSF represent $78.7 billion in assets. Topics covered in the study include:

  • Performance - one, three, five and ten years
  • Returns and Investment Objectives
  • Asset Allocation, Investment Policies and Restrictions and Rebalancing
  • Debt
  • Donor Stock
  • Fund Flows
  • Resources, Management and Governance

The Council on Foundations’ Foundation Management Series provides foundation boards and staff with the tools needed to benchmark their practices and operations against peers in the field. Containing data from the Council’s 2009 Foundation Management survey, the series consists of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.

The Council conducted the foundation management survey in March 2010 in cooperation with the Foundation Center. Respondents were asked to provide information on their boards' demographics, compensation and reimbursement practices, liability insurance, ethics policies, and information on their foundations' administrative expenses and fiscal oversight. All reports in the series provide detailed breakdowns of survey data by foundation type and asset size.

The Council on Foundations’ Foundation Management Series provides foundation boards and staff with the tools needed to benchmark their practices and operations against peers in the field. Containing data from the Council’s 2009 Foundation Management survey, the series will consist of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.

This report offers the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. It contains salaries for 34 full-time positions; allows grantmakers to benchmark compensation against their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region; and offers extensive information on benefits policies and practices such as health care premiums by plan type.

The 2012 Grantmakers Salary Tables provide aggregate information on U.S. foundation staff salaries and benefits. Free to participants and Council members and $79 for nonmembers, these tables present information on 34 staff positions across multiple foundation types (community, private, operating, and other), asset sizes and geographic regions. Tables provide the mean, median, range, 25th and 75th percentiles. These tables are included as Chapter 6 in the full 2012 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report.

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