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.

According to published reports there are some 80,000 foundations in the United States. They collectively expend more than $50 billion each year for charitable purposes. The IRS expects foundation managers to be conversant with the statutes and regulations as they discharge their governance and fiduciary obligations. However, the rules are exceedingly complex, resulting in an unrealistic expectation that all too often is not met.

The year I was born, 1963, being gay was officially deemed a mental illness by the medical establishment. Same-sex relationships were illegal in every state, save Illinois. The federal government maintained a policy that prohibited the hiring of "known perverts,” then referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

What a long way we have come to today, the day marriage equality was deemed the law of the land by the highest court in our nation.

Social change transpires at a blistering pace, in both promising and discouraging trajectories.  After growing up in isolation in South Dakota and cutting my teeth decades ago as an LGBTQ human rights activist, I’m gob-smacked and elated by today’s Supreme Court decision.

This decision is historic for what it accomplished: it righted a wrong. It’s also momentous for what it represents. Empathy. Courage. Equality. Progress.

This article originally appeared on the D5 coalition blog, on 18 June 2015. The original article can be found here.

The fabric of Foundations funding human services forms a rich mosaic with themes as diverse as housing, education, employment, social justice issues, physical and public health.  The thread that interconnects with all of these is the mental health of the individuals and communities who are targets for support and improvement.  It can be a complicated puzzle.

This week, Stan Katz, Benjamin Soskis and Maribel Morey released HistPhil, a new blog that focuses on both “the studying of history and the making of history”. The blog is a result of the co-founders insight that philanthropy as a whole has much to gain from studying its past. The founders hope that the blog will lead to new understanding of how current philanthropic issues can be resolved by studying the past. The organizers hope to bring together both scholars and changemakers in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

While the globalization of markets has dispersed investments around the world, we’ve hatched a plan to bring capital back to our communities in a transparent, coordinated, and collaborative way. I’m excited to announce Canopy, an innovative, member-owned, for-benefit company designed to advance regional investing—at scale.

In this week's Washington Snapshot: 

The Social Impact Exchange exists to build a growth capital marketplace that supports scaling high-impact nonprofits in the U.S.  Funders with shared interests convene in working groups (currently active in health and education) to identify and vet highly effective nonprofit initiatives primed for scale using a thorough due diligence process.  Nonprofits that clear the due diligence process receive 25-30% of their total capital raise from working group members; additional funding is then raised by “syndicating” these investments to a much broader market of regional and local foundations, fa

Amidst all the joyous celebrations of same-sex couples finally able to participate in the legal benefits of marriage; and amidst all the exciting, visible cultural offerings, like the Amazon series, Transparent; there is the continuing drumbeat of LGBTQ stories that have not gained a similar level of visibility.