Public Foundations

Public foundations are grantmaking public charities that gain their funds from a variety of sources, which may include foundations, individuals, corporations, or public entities. Public foundations may engage in fundraising, and may seek broad public financial support. They may or may not have endowments. There is no legal definition of a public foundation, but most dedicate a significant portion of their annual budgets to grantmaking. Most community foundations are also grantmaking public charities.

Since public foundations may be defined in different ways, and there is no official IRS or legal definition of public foundations, it is difficult to arrive at statistics that are fully representative of the field.

Below is everything on our site for public foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

The policy issues that impact philanthropy are wide-ranging. The Council’s team of policy and legal experts regularly monitors and tracks proposals impacting individual giving incentives, tax code provisions that impact the business operations of foundations, IRS regulatory proposals, Administrative actions, policies affecting cross-border philanthropy, public-philanthropic partnership developments, and much more.

Our issue pages include the latest developments on policies that will impact your foundation’s work, including:

Please join Council on Foundations members and others within the Southern California philanthropic community for a unique program to learn about the opportunities and challenges affecting the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors at a local, state, and federal levels as the 2016 election cycle gets underway.

Learn more about how you can maximize the Council's network to further enhance your work in the field. Senior leaders from the Council discussed additional services, initiatives, and updates that have an impact on the larger philanthropic community and Council members.

As my boss and Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni noted, “#GivingTuesday has gone from a simple idea to become a genuine global phenomenon.” The unofficial start to the end-of-year giving season once again kicked off this #GivingTuesday, December 2nd 2014, and with #UNselfies shared and charitable gifts made, giving is in full-swing.

Free Webinar Open to All Philanthropic Organizations
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 1pm ET

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 25, 2014 - January 2, 2015. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please call our main number at 703-879-0600 and select "Membership" or e-mail us at

An article recently published in Research & Development shared how  researchers are using social media to draw attention to their research.  Discussing their work with reporters and sharing on social media seemed to increase the likelihood that one’s research is cited, thereby increasing their work’s impact.  With that being said, how is your organization drumming up interest with social media?  Are you using it simply as an awareness tool or are you active