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 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 consists of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.

The Council conducted the foundation management survey in March 2010 in cooperation with the Foundation Center. Respondents were asked to provide information on their boards' demographics, compensation and reimbursement practices, liability insurance, ethics policies, and information on their foundations' administrative expenses and fiscal oversight. All reports in the series provide detailed breakdowns of survey data by foundation type and asset size.

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.

More and more grantmakers are adopting online board portals to expedite the flow of information between the chief executive, staff, and the board.

Together, let's advance philanthropy and the common good!

Join the Council to be a part of an active and diverse network of professionals working together for effective, impactful, innovative, and collaborative philanthropy.

As a national voice for philanthropy, the Council works to create an environment in which philanthropy can thrive by promoting policies that allow the philanthropic sector to remain vibrant, inclusive, innovative, and effective.

The Public Policy Team at the Council works in a number of ways advance philanthropy as a core value, and strengthen the sector.

Meeting with a member of Congress or with congressional staff is an effective way to convey a message about a specific issue or legislative matter. Below are some suggestions for making the most of your visit.

Plan your visit carefully

Be clear about what it is you want to achieve. Determine in advance with whom you need to meet to achieve your purpose.

Each member of Congress has staff to assist him or her during a term in office. To be most effective in communicating with Congress, it is helpful to know the titles and principal functions of key staff.

Commonly used titles and job functions: