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.

As part of its advocacy work, the Council may weigh in on, or participate in, important legal cases when significant issues arise that will impact our members and the field. The Council’s participation is often as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) whereby the Council, although not a party to the litigation, authors or co-authors a legal brief to inform the Court of its position on an issue and to assist the Court in making a decision in the case.

Networking Events

#COFAnnual is the place to connect with leaders in philanthropy, government, and other sectors — and to create future opportunities for collaboration. While every minute at #COFAnnual is an opportunity to network, these events are tailored for you to socialize and introduce you to new contacts.


Sunday, April 23

New Attendee Welcome Reception

Sunday, April 23 — 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary: Philanthropy's Role in Vibrant Communities

Monday, April 24 - 8:45-10:15 a.m.

A great example of a foundation that has already been active in reaching out to their members in the 115th Congress is the Adirondack Foundation. Click here to see their example of a letter to the Congresswoman representing their district!

Awards Programming

Join the Council in honoring exemplars in the field of philanthropy at our 2017 Annual Conference. The Council will present the 2017 Distinguished Service Award and Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications at the Annual Meeting of the Members, and the Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships will be presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Council on Foundations at a special salon.

The Council on Foundations Job Board

The Council on Foundations Philanthropic Career Center is the home for foundation careers and jobs in the United States and around the world. This job board is the premier recruitment site for foundations looking to hire foundation professionals.

A severe storm system on June 22 dumped torrential rain, tornadoes, high winds, and large hail across West Virginia and Virginia, causing the most deadly flash flood event the U.S.