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.

Do you know what happens when the U.S. sanctions U.S. charities? If you answered no, you wouldn’t be alone. It can lead to funds being frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules requiring that they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Council and other foundation leaders meet with Members of Congress
  • Tax Reform Update: Bill to repeal ACA is introduced, tax reform to follow
  • The Council files amicus briefs in recent legal cases
  • In the States: California Speaker establishes select committee on the nonprofit sector

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated on March 8 of every year, IWD celebrates women around the world and their achievements. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and the International Women’s Day website documents the evolution of this global celebration. At a time when there are many places and situations where women's rights, equality, health, and safety remain marginalized, IWD is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

In April, my tenure as chair of the Council on Foundations’ Board of Directors will end, and I will near completion of my board service, a term bounded by two historic presidential elections and begun when our country experienced an economic collapse rivaled only by the 1929 market crash and the Great Depression that followed.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: President Trump addresses Congress, Secretary Mnuchin speaks on tax reform, Chairman Brady vows to repeal the Johnson Amendment, and the Council and colleagues speak out in defense of nonpartisanship
  • Legislation to invest in “opportunity zones” introduced in House and Senate
  • Ben Carson is confirmed as Housing and Urban Development Secretary
  • President Trump orders agencies to focus on regulatory reform
  • White House budget aims to increase defense spending, cut domestic programs

It’s officially tax season when the IRS releases its Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams. We know Council members work hard to be on the right side of the law, but the below info from the IRS can be useful to review with board and staff. Don’t forget, if you ever have a question, the Council’s legal team is here to support you. Feel free to contact us at legal@cof.org.

Here’s their list of this year’s most prominent scams:

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: House Republicans face growing opposition to border adjustability
  • Charitable Giving Coalition Spends Day Fighting for the Charitable Deduction on Capitol Hill
  • IRS makes 1023-EZ data available online
  • In the States: State budgets (in brief), and States consider contracting reform commissions

Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill sat down with Philanthropy Hour’s Greg Cherry for an intimate conversation about the impact and value of American philanthropy and the Council on Foundations' role in advancing the common good.

Hear what Vikki considers to be trending in the field, what motivates giving, and some of the exciting work the Council is doing around impact investing and endowments — just stream the 40-minute podcast now.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Mnuchin confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Bishop names to Ways & Means, Trump Administration working on a tax overhaul plan, Congress aims to keep tax reform train on track
  • IRS seeks to understand how the regulatory ban will impact its work
  • Council Hosts Collaborative Meeting with Federal Agencies and Philanthropic Stakeholders
  • U.S. nonprofits working abroad face financial difficulties, according to a new study

Over the past several months, Council staff have held conversations with foundation leaders who are grappling with how to understand philanthropy’s role as the new Administration challenges the way our country has traditionally operated. The pace with which significant changes are proposed and executed is making it difficult for even the best strategic jugglers to know how, if, or when to react. Most will admit that these are unusual times. Some describe what’s happening as a shock to the system, sending waves of confusion through organizations and around the globe.