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.

The Council on Foundations supports mandatory electronic filing of Form 990s and publicly-available data about the nonprofit sector, while cautioning lawmakers to involve nonprofits in implementation and ensure adequate data protection.

Several years ago, the IRS began requiring electronic filing, or e-filing, of Forms 990 and 990-PF for certain classes of tax-exempt organizations; it also made e-filing an option for all filers. Many organizations already choose to e-file for the efficiency it affords, and each year increasing numbers of organizations are making the transition.

Under current law, 501(c)(3) charitable organizations are prohibited from participating in, or intervening in (including the publishing and distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

To support leaders in their efforts to take meaningful action to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their organizations, D5 commissioned JustPartners, Inc. to identify the most effective policies, practices, and programs to advance DEI.

On the Fourth of July, our nation comes together to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, freedoms our service members, veterans and their families have made possible through their sacrifices.

Just as Americans responded to the call to defend our liberties, our nation must respond to our call to duty – ensuring veterans and their families have a successful transition from service to community.

Together – one nation with one common goal – we must serve those who have served us.

Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director of the TIAA-CREF Institute, shares the Working Group's vision of the Endowments and Financial Services Summit.

The Council has concerns about proposals in recent years that would expand the scope of the unrelated business income tax.

The Council opposes any policy proposal that would eliminate types of supporting organizations and reduce the variety and flexibility of charitable giving tools available to foundations and donors alike.

Delivered Monday, July 13 during the 2015 NAACP National Convention along with Senator Casey, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman G.K. Butterfield and more.

The full video remarks can be viewed here with Vikki Spruill starting at 1:11. 

Interning at the Council on Foundations is giving us a great look at a cross-section of the philanthropic field. The Council’s members, after all, come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, corporate, community foundations, and everything in between. As much as we research them, as much as we hear their names thrown around, the opportunity to actually visit and connect with a member really brought our work into context.

On July 26th, we mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA25), which prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The impact of the ADA on grant-funded projects in healthcare, education and housing has been significant, as the 57 million Americans with disabilities comprise the nation’s largest minority.