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.

Due to the large number of resources on our website, we highly recommend you use the site navigation or the search feature to find what you are looking for.

On June 9, 2021, Senators King (I-ME) and Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act. The Council on Foundations opposes this legislation.
The 2021 Virtual HR Retreat, co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and CHANGE Philanthropy, is a unique opportunity to learn from and engage with fellow HR and talent leaders in philanthropy.
All programming for Leading Together 2021.