Independent Foundations

Private foundations make grants based on charitable endowments. The endowment funds come from one or a small handful of sources -- an individual, a family or a corporation. Because of their endowments, they are focused primarily on grantmaking and generally do not raise funds or seek public financial support the way public charities (like community foundations) must.

Private independent foundations are distinct from private family or corporate foundations in that an independent foundation is not governed by the benefactor, the benefactor’s family or a corporation. Of the largest private foundations in the United States, most are independent foundations, although they may have begun as family foundations or were converted from corporate foundations. There is no official IRS or legal definition of independent foundations, so it is difficult to arrive at statistics that are fully representative of the field.

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

I once joked with a friend that I had no personality of my own, rather that I was made up of a Frankenstein patchwork of all the people I’ve met. The tendency to wander in my storytelling? Let me introduce you to my late grandfather. The courage to opine on things not even remotely in my ken? Let me introduce you to my father and mother, my college professors, and the characters that set out on all sorts of adventures in the books I love. The obsession with equity?

Private Grantmakers include private, independent and family foundations, along with operating private foundations, grantmaking LLCs and private health-conversion foundations.

Need more information? A member of our team is available to assist at membership@cof.org.

At our Chicago learning session, I was inspired by the approaches of colleagues from the MacArthur, Kellogg, Joyce, Grand Victoria, and California Wellness foundations, alongside friends from BoardSource and the Council on Foundations.

During the United Nations General Assembly in late September, Heads of State, government officials, civil society, and the philanthropic and commercial private sector will convene in New York with a focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is a key part of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and a shared commitment by United Nations member states to ensure everyone has access to health services without undue financial hardship. The vision is lofty and worthy, but the barriers are plentiful.

Previewing the UN General Assembly: A global community of actors

The world faces pressing challenges that require global responses – the climate crisis, entrenched inequality, migration, and more. But with international cooperation increasingly at risk, actions taken at the local level are ever more vital. 

The upcoming high-level week of the UN General Assembly will put these issues front and center on the international agenda and mobilize action on the challenges that matter to Americans and to people around the world.

After working in the philanthropic field for the past 10 years, the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program gave me the opportunity—and frankly the time—to seriously consider being an executive leader in the sector. It’s not something I could always see for myself.

I am happy to say I can see it clearly now.

Disaster Overview

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday, September 1 and was the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the Atlantic. Although it decreased in strength as it made its way toward the U.S. Atlantic Coast, it made a total of five landfalls -- three in Bahamas, a U.S. landfall in North Carolina and a final one in Canada. This page will be regularly updated with more resources and information on any funds established to support disaster response and recovery. 

An overview of charitable giving in India by Charities Aid Foundation.