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 September 25th at the United Nations, 193 countries ratified the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global targets that will serve as a new global framework for how governments, philanthropy, non-profits, and the private sector can work together to address challenges all of us and the communities we serve face on a local and global scale. Council staff have been participating in conversations about achieving these goals and philanthropy’s critical role in this endeavor.

In the last year, there has been a spike in the number of refugees fleeing into Europe. There are still three-and-a-half months left in 2015, but the number of arriving refugees this year is already more than double the amount from all of 2014. The camps and centers that some refugees are forced to stay in are overcrowded and often lack food, water and other basic necessities.

Data gathered from 244 private and community foundations participating in the 2014 Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community FoundationsTM (CCSF) show that the 142 private foundations participating in the study reported an average return of 6.1 percent for the 2014 fiscal year (January 1 – December 31, 2014), down from the 15.6 percent return reported for FY2013, while the 102 participating community foundations reported an average return of 4.8 percent for FY2014 compared to last year’s average return of 15.2 percent.

Delivered Monday, July 13 during the 2015 NAACP National Convention along with Senator Casey, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman G.K. Butterfield and more.

The full video remarks can be viewed here with Vikki Spruill starting at 1:11. 

Building Successful Collaborations in Philanthropy

This morning, Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill helped launch a new platform on the Huffington Post that highlights important developments and leading thinkers on social innovation. The blog features thoughts from leaders such as Clara Miller of the F.B. Heron Foundation and Maria Rodale of the Rodale Institute. 

On May 30, David Callahan, editor of Inside Philanthropy, published a short-sighted opinion piece on philanthropy in the New York Times. Given its reach, the Council believed that the piece warranted a strong and united response.

The 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey is now open. The survey collects information on benefits policies and practices, as well as compensation data for 35 positions at community, corporate, private, public, and operating foundations.

The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge today announced more than $106 million in new commitments to strengthen services and support for millions of veterans and military families throughout America. Six new grantmakers joined more than 30 philanthropic organizations and corporations that made the Impact Pledge since 2014.

Since last year’s Impact Pledge announcement of $170,000,000, an additional $106,225,000 has been committed (both cash and in-kind), bringing the total to $276,225,000. These new Impact Pledge members include:

The Council on Foundations applauds Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for introducing The Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2015 (S.1159). This measure would make permanent and expand the IRA charitable rollover, a valuable incentive for Americans to contribute to charitable organizations across the country their mandatory distributions from IRA accounts. The Council is also grateful for Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) co-sponsorship and support.

The Council on Foundations today announced the release of the 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. Salary information is provided for 35 executive, professional and administrative positions, and the report allows grantmakers to compare compensation to that of their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region.