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.

Nonprofit foundation boards often discount the need for ‘D&O’ Insurance. They tend to think because they don’t have shareholders their directors won’t be sued. That’s not the case. Foundations serve large and varied constituencies to whom their boards owe specific duties similar to the duties owed by corporate boards.

Potential claimants in suits against nonprofit directors include:

Hosted by the Council on Foundations and the Veterans Philanthropy Exchange, organizers announced more than $106 million in new commitments to strengthen services and support for veterans and military families nationwide. Check out the full plenary program!

Editor's Note: Stephen Heintz received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award at an awards ceremony on November 28. Below are his remarks on the state of philanthropy from the event. 

This report from the Harvard Kennedy School's Houser Institute for Civil Society examines trends in philanthropy and social investment in Mexico.

Members, View the Recording

Join the Council’s senior counsel Suzanne Friday as she discusses US regulation and compliance issues outside of the U.S. Tax Code that affect global grantmakers. Topics will includes regulations like the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), US Treasury’s voluntary anti-terrorism guidelines and more.

Led by Suzanne Friday, Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for the Council on Foundations, and Lindsay Mason, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, this workshop is organized to ensure common legal questions for administering grants, board governance and charitable giving activities are addressed.

At the Council, we are always looking for ways to celebrate and highlight the important work our members are leading around the country and around the world.