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 board compensation and administrative expenses tables are available for free to members:

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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.

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In 2008, during the Obama Administration’s transition, Valerie Jarrett, now Senior Advisor to President Obama, was the featured speaker at a Council Policy Forum. She asked foundations to become partners in the social innovation agenda the incoming Administration was committed to incorporate into its policies and programs. The Policy Forum attendees responded positively, and in an effort to provide a coordinated response, the Council organized a formal public-philanthropic partnership initiative.

Current as of August 2015 | Download print version (PDF)

Comments related to any information in this Note should be addressed to India Adams.

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Current as of November 2015 | Download print version (in PDF)

Comments related to any information in this Note should be addressed to India Adams.

Current as of September 2015 | Download print version (in PDF)

Comments related to any information in this Note should be addressed to India Adams.

Table of Contents  

Current as of July 2015 | Download print version (in PDF)

Comments related to any information in this Note should be addressed to India Adams.