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:

D5’s Final State of the Work highlights voices of leaders in the field who share their stories of change and progress.  Some are longtime advocates; some are newer enthusiasts. Each of them shares a perspective on what has worked and what challenges remain as they lead their institutions through changes to meet the demands of a new America.

This final report catalogs the stories that tell of human impact and human struggle to create a more equitable philanthropy. Some of these stories are:

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 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.

To support leaders in their efforts to take meaningful action to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their organizations, D5 commissioned JustPartners, Inc. to identify the most effective policies, practices, and programs to advance DEI.

By David A. Levitt

Helpful article published by Adler & Colvin summarizing the key differences between Mission-Related and Program-Related Investments for Private Foundations. The article also lays out many of the necessary legal and regulatory questions when determining if an impact investing strategy is appropriate for a given situation.

This guide, published by Confluence Philanthropy, focuses on how a foundation can leverage its assets in service of its mission by investing cash locally through community-based financing. It reviews the different types of depositories, as well as the steps on how to get started carrying your cash, and also features two foundation case studies.

This report offers the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. It contains salaries for 35 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. Council members can access the report for FREE!

Read Vikki Spruill's Commentary on the Findings.