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’ 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.

Foundation CEOs and trustees share insights and personal stories related to significant paths of change and how they overcame setbacks. Download a copy and gain best practices to help you successfully lead your foundation, boards and staff.

20 pages

The Principles were created by representatives of more than 40 charitable sector organizations including the Council on Foundations (the working group coordinator), Independent Sector, InterAction and Grantmakers Without Borders, as an alternative to the U.S. Treasury Department's Voluntary Anti-Terrorist Guidelines.

2005, 14 pages

This report presents 2011 salaries and compensation trends over a wide range of positions and grantmaking entities—community, private (family and independent) and public foundations and corporate grantmakers. Based on actual salaries, the report covers 34 positions and provides mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentile figures. In addition to analyzing salaries and compensation trends, the full 2011 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report includes data on staff demographics, salary administration, and benefits.

2011, 88 pages

This report presents 2011 salaries and compensation trends over a wide range of positions and grantmaking entities-community foundations, private foundations (family and independent), public foundations, and corporate grantmakers. Based on actual salaries, the report covers 34 positions and allows grantmakers to benchmark compensation against their peers by foundation type, size, and region. The report also offers extensive information on benefits policies and practices and includes new data on health-care premiums by plan type.