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.

Award Nominations

The Council is currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. Nominate a courageous leader and innovative grantmaker today.

For the last three years, I’ve noticed a growing trend in community foundations asking for support to make international grants, often from donor or corporate advised funds.

In May, I invited the Council on Foundations' private foundation members to participate in a survey to help me gather information that will shape future Council programming tailored to private foundations. The results of the survey identified several areas of interest and need.

Participants answered two main questions:

  1. What topics would you most like to learn about or discuss at an event?
  2. What are the top three challenges you are facing right now?

 The topics which received the most interest are: 

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Council submits tax reform comments to Senate Finance Committee
  • Tax Reform Update: House committee approves budget, takes first legislative step towards tax reform
  • Senate Finance Committee to consider Mr. Kautter’s nomination today
  • In the States: Michigan court clarifies property tax exemption; California nonprofits object to burdensome contracting legislation

It’s not every day you get to meet with the CEO of an influential nonprofit, but for the Council’s interns, we had the extraordinary pleasure to sit down with Mary McClymont, the President and CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Health care debate slows other legislative action, but Congress is still ramping up for tax reform
  • House Appropriations Committee to consider Johnson Amendment provision in a bill markup today
  • Senate Finance to hold confirmation hearing for Kautter
  • Trending in Legal Affairs: Funding public charities that lobby when multiple funders are involved

The Council’s Global Team is excited to welcome a new addition! Nicolette Gerald is a graduate of George Mason University with a bachelor’s degree in government and international politics. She will be spending the next two months with us as a summer intern before beginning her graduate studies in public policy this fall.

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, a time during which we celebrate our origins as a nation of immigrants. The Council’s staff, its board, it strategic partners, its member organizations and the communities they serve are all inclusive of immigrants. As a national organization and a leading voice within the philanthropic sector, the Council takes great pride in the diversity represented by this immigrant population and the rich difference of perspectives it brings to the important work our members do. 

Editor’s Note: The Council’s legal team regularly receives questions regarding the data security of foundation operations and donor and grantee information. Lara Kalwinski, Senior Counsel, connected with Lucy Bernholz to find the right expert to break down these issues for us.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Hill Briefing on Charitable Giving and Tax Reform
  • Tax Reform Update: Brady Insists on Complete Overhaul Instead of Mere Tax Cuts
  • Senate Delays Health Care Vote, Complicates Tax Reform Timeline
  • In the States: Lack of budgets in three states creating challenges, calls to action; Demonstrating nonprofit impact in St. Louis