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.

During the United Nations General Assembly in late September, Heads of State, government officials, civil society, and the philanthropic and commercial private sector are convening in New York with a focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC is a key part of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and a shared commitment by United Nations member states to ensure everyone has access to health services without undue financial hardship. The vision is lofty and worthy, but the barriers are plentiful.
The world faces pressing challenges that require global responses – the climate crisis, entrenched inequality, migration, and more. But with international cooperation increasingly at risk, actions taken at the local level are ever more vital.
After working in the philanthropic field for the past 10 years, the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program gave me the opportunity—and frankly the time—to seriously consider being an executive leader in the sector. It’s not something I could always see for myself.
Updated information about Hurricane Dorian's impact and resources for foundations.
An overview of charitable giving in India by Charities Aid Foundation.
Several years ago, the Council on Foundations Board made a decision that I have felt for some time needed to be revisited. We voted to approve a new membership model that we thought would ensure long term financial health for the Council. The outcome of that decision, however, did not play out in the manner we anticipated. In fact, the new dues structure had an adverse impact on a number of our members, particularly small and medium sized foundations as well as community foundations, many of whom were priced out of the Council community. While this was never the Board’s intention, we take responsibility for causing these valued members to feel alienated from the Council community.
2019 Endowments & Finance Summit Attendee list.
The CCSF report is the field’s most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance policies and practices. The 2018 CCSF studied over 230 private and community foundations that represent over $89.3 billion in assets.
Read the latest UN and Country Regulatory updates, Global Philanthropy & Development News, and more.
It is an unfortunate reality of our times that all too often foundations are needed to respond to mass casualty events in their communities. Here are a few resources from foundations about how they responded and what lessons they learned along the way.