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. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

Grantmaking tends to be a pretty virtuous endeavor. However, given the complexity of the process and endless details and data, it’s easy to fall prey to one of the many “deadly sins of grantmaking”. In this interactive session, we’ll highlight some common “sins” and how to avoid them. We’ll share best practices gained from 20 years of experience working with the world’s most generous and sophisticated grantmakers.

In January, we kicked off our work to Reimagine Council Membership, and since then, we’ve heard from more than 450 foundations via an open survey, an external task force, and a series of focus groups with resigned and current members of the Council.  

What do you do when you have a difficult and complex problem? If you’re like me, you start by trying to understand it. You think the problem through from all angles, looking at the data, talking to people in your community. You study the problem, inside out.

What is the highest and best role for philanthropy? And how can the Council support our members and the field to reach our potential and address the most pressing issues of our time? Join Kathleen Enright, President and CEO of The Council on Foundations, for an interactive visioning session to explore these key questions and share insights and feedback on how a reimagined Council can best serve the field of philanthropy and advance public good.

Are you a grantmaker committed to LGBTQ issues? Did you know in 2017, grantmaking by U.S. foundations in support of organizations and programs addressing LGBTQ issues totaled $185.7 million, and the South became the most funded region with more than $22 million in funding, occupying the top position for the first time since we began tracking funding by region. 
 

Last month, we announced our work to Reimagine Council Membership and asked for feedback as we review Council membership and dues.

More than 400 individuals – representing grantmaking organizations of different types, sizes, geographies, and member status – responded to our survey and shared ideas on how we can improve Council membership, programs, and value for institutions and for the field.

The CCSF is the field's most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance practices at private and community foundations. The goal is to provide a unique information source for financial and investment staff, trustees and investment committee members of the nation’s private and community foundations. Your participation is key to achieving this goal.

Key Dates

The 2018 Survey will be open from March 13 through May 31, and the results will be released in August 2019.