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 2017 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey is now open. This annual survey is one of the most important and effective resources for our members and for the field and we encourage you to participate.

Data gathered in the 2016 Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community Foundations® (CCSF) show that participating private foundations reported an average return of 6.4 percent for the 2016 fiscal year (January 1 – December 31, 2016) while participating community foundations reported an average return of 7.3 percent for the same period. (All return data are reported net of fees.)

The largest and most comprehensive report in the United States on grantmaker staff composition and compensation was released today by the Council on Foundations and highlighted a lingering age gap that exists within the philanthropic sector.

The 2016 Full Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report offers the most comprehensive information in the field of grantmaking on compensation levels and salary administration. This report contains:

Today, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from President and CEO Vikki Spruill:

The 2016 Administrative and Program Expense Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their expenses – charitable administrative, program service, and qualifying distributions – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by grantmaker type, staff size, geographic location, and asset group (note – this report does not examine fees associated with fund administration at community foundations).

Today, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from President and CEO Vikki Spruill:

“Today’s White House statement on its tax reform position clarifies the first step in what will be a long process towards meaningful tax reform. We are especially pleased to see the White House recognize the importance of the charitable deduction. We look forward to seeing even greater clarity from the White House in the coming months on its position.

The Council on Foundations opened its Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, this week with a special address from President George W. Bush. He talked about the current work of the George W.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations (COF) today announced the winners of the 2017 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.