Public Foundations

Public foundations are grantmaking public charities that gain their funds from a variety of sources, which may include foundations, individuals, corporations, or public entities. Public foundations may engage in fundraising, and may seek broad public financial support. They may or may not have endowments. There is no legal definition of a public foundation, but most dedicate a significant portion of their annual budgets to grantmaking. Most community foundations are also grantmaking public charities.

Since public foundations may be defined in different ways, and there is no official IRS or legal definition of public foundations, it is difficult to arrive at statistics that are fully representative of the field.

Below is everything on our site for public foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

The Council launched a new approach to membership to better reflect the diversity of the field, but what does that mean for you? Join this members-only conference call to hear more about the model, understand the new renewal process and get your questions answered by Council staff.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' guide for philanthropy on aligning with the SDGs.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' guide for philanthropy to get started with the SDGs.

Brookings Institution report on the experiences of vanguard cities in implementing the SDGs.

From Greta Thunberg’s passionate climate advocacyto concerns about the efficacy of multilateralism that the UN represents, there was no shortage of news from the 74th UN General Assembly. Despite only having ten years left to achieve the SDGs, recent reports are bleak.

West Central Initiative (WCI) is one of six community foundations in Minnesota created by the McKnight Foundation in 1986 to response to the farm crisis. Together, we cover the area of the state called “Greater Minnesota.” We have cities and towns in all of our regions, but we are commonly understood to be representative of rural Minnesota.

I once joked with a friend that I had no personality of my own, rather that I was made up of a Frankenstein patchwork of all the people I’ve met. The tendency to wander in my storytelling? Let me introduce you to my late grandfather. The courage to opine on things not even remotely in my ken? Let me introduce you to my father and mother, my college professors, and the characters that set out on all sorts of adventures in the books I love. The obsession with equity?

Public charities are grantmaking organizations that include intermediary grantmakers, health-conversion foundations, and public charities that make grants and operate programs.

Need more information? A member of our team is available to assist at membership@cof.org.

At our Chicago learning session, I was inspired by the approaches of colleagues from the MacArthur, Kellogg, Joyce, Grand Victoria, and California Wellness foundations, alongside friends from BoardSource and the Council on Foundations.