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 2016 Salary Tables provide aggregate information on staff salaries among U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. This data is typically used by foundations to make staffing decisions and provide appropriate compensation for new hires or existing employees. The 2016 Salary Tables include compensation data from nearly 10,000 full-time employees from the 1,010 organizations that participated in the 2016 survey. Responses came from across the country and the tables examine compensation by position, type of foundation, asset size, and region.

The CCSF is the most comprehensive and authoritative annual survey of its kind on foundation investment and governance practices, and provides data for the benefit of foundation trustees and staff, as well as the larger community of grantees, policymakers and stakeholders. The 228 foundations participating in the 2015 CCSF represent $100.6 billion in assets. One hundred thirty private and 98 community foundations make up the Study, which covers the 2015 fiscal year (January 1-December 31, 2015). Topics covered in the Study include:

This report offers the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. The 2015 Full Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report:

The Council on Foundations exists to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools philanthropic organizations need to make a meaningful difference. As a national organization with a large and diverse membership, the Council possesses a unique ability to offer strategic leadership for philanthropy in its many forms.

In helping foundations LEAD TOGETHER, the Council aims to help grantmakers leverage their resources for common purposes.

On February 19, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations regarding the prohibition on certain contributions to Type I and Type III supporting organizations and the requirements for Type III supporting organizations. 

The 2015 Board Compensation Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their board compensation practices against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type and asset size. 

The 2015 Program & Administrative Expenses Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their administrative expenses – their grants, salaries, qualifying distributions, etc. – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type, staff size, geographic location, and asset size. The report does not examine fees associated with fund operations at community foundations.

Many foundation staff remain mystified (and enamored) with mission investing and the promise it holds for leveraging foundation resources to support their missions. However, it is clear that many foundations do not fully understand the full complement of mission investing strategies and how to implement them effectively.

This white paper provides a review of critical governance issues that foundations must consider to remain in compliance with prevailing and emerging laws and regulations. Readers can expect content focused on Trustee fiduciary responsibilities as relates to duties of care, loyalty, and responsibility.

This white paper outlines best practices with proven results that foundations can use to find and create a diverse and inclusive staff and investment advisory team. Readers will learn how to make the business case for more diverse and equitable strategies and link success in this area with investment results.