Private 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 foundation” is the umbrella term that includes corporate, independent, family, and operating foundations.  As of 2011, there were 73,764 private foundations in the United States (Foundation Center, 2011).  

In 2011, private foundations held more than $604 billion in assets and gave away more than $45 billion (Foundation Center, 2011).  

Below is everything on our site for private foundations. 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.

Working Group for the 2021 HR Retreat.
Today, the Council on Foundations announced a new strategy that sets forth a 20-year direction heading for the organization. Motivated by a vision of philanthropy as a trusted partner in advancing the greater good, the Council’s new strategic direction challenges philanthropy to make progress on a set of key outcomes.
As organizations continue COVID-19 response efforts, HR leaders in philanthropy are thoughtfully introducing innovative practices about returning to work, while coping with new and complex challenges. Join the Council and CHANGE Philanthropy for a facilitated, small-group dialogue to explore the implications of a returning workforce to the office.
Native Americans are a richly diverse and growing population, but as an ethnicity, they are disproportionately affected by disasters. This reality is true for those who live on reservations and in urban areas. And yet, Native Americans are greatly underfunded by philanthropy: From 2002 to 2016, large U.S. foundations gave, on average, 0.4% of total annual giving explicitly for Native American communities and causes
Community foundations and place-based funders should be aware of the impending rental evictions crisis on the horizon. Money is available in every state to help renters who are behind on rent due to the pandemic’s impacts and are at risk of eviction when the federal pandemic eviction moratorium ends on July 31. Challenges lie in the inadequacies of local government systems to execute a fast distribution of these relief funds.
The Council on Foundations applauds the reintroduction of the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act (S.2191/ H.R4095) by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Terri Sewell (D-AL). The bill would allow charitable foundations to provide post-graduation scholarships to help address the growing student debt crisis and stimulate regional economic growth.
When I formally entered the field of philanthropy, I was certain of my commitment to improving the overall quality of life for children and families. But to be frank, what I was not certain of was the full scope of the vast and unique role philanthropy could play in facilitating such change. As a former program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, I brought with me deep experience on the “dance floor.” I have since learned the importance of “going to the balcony” to bring about change on individual and enterprise levels.
The idea of raising the bar in the philanthropic sector is a great one, but we need to acknowledge some potentially hard truths first: a) the bar is actually set pretty low, so the idea of raising it shouldn’t be the pinnacle of our aspirations; b) we haven’t reached the goals represented by the positioning of the current bar; and c) there are policies, structures and behaviors in our sector that act as weights holding the bar down.
Like many of us in the philanthropic sector, I have, over the past year, been to more than a few webinars and conferences on philanthropy’s role in advancing equity. It can often feel like we’re all following a standard script. We acknowledge that racism exists, and has in fact existed for a while; we acknowledge that philanthropy has traditionally perpetuated injustices; and then we conclude that we must fund communities of color. We’re often too scared of saying the “wrong” thing or the “radical” thing to go any deeper than that.
I came away from the second day of the Council on Foundations’ Leading Together 2021 conference with an enormous amount of hope. Hope in humanity and in the kind and equitable future we will create together, if we challenge ourselves to do better and shift many of our sector practices.