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 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:

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).

The 2016 Board Compensation Tables provide foundation board and staff with the tools they need to benchmark their board compensation policies and practices against peers in the field. This report contains data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey and presented by foundation type, asset group, and U.S. Census region.

Members, Download the Tables for Free

Many people want to start foundations, but few start out knowing exactly what sort of organization they are going to create. The purpose of this e-book is to help potential donors understand the many different entities that are commonly referred to as foundations and to provide an understanding of the legal framework necessary to establish a foundation.

This publication is broken into five different parts plus it includes sample Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to get you started.

As part of its advocacy work, the Council may weigh in on, or participate in, important legal cases when significant issues arise that will impact our members and the field. The Council’s participation is often as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) whereby the Council, although not a party to the litigation, authors or co-authors a legal brief to inform the Court of its position on an issue and to assist the Court in making a decision in the case.

Networking Events

#COFAnnual is the place to connect with leaders in philanthropy, government, and other sectors — and to create future opportunities for collaboration. While every minute at #COFAnnual is an opportunity to network, these events are tailored for you to socialize and introduce you to new contacts.


Sunday, April 23

New Attendee Welcome Reception

Sunday, April 23 — 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary: Philanthropy's Role in Vibrant Communities

Monday, April 24 - 8:30-10:15 a.m.

Breakfast starts at 7:45 a.m. — Doors Close Promptly at 8:30 a.m.

IMPORTANT: During President George W. Bush’s speech all mobile devices must be silenced and put away. There is also no note-taking, photography, or recording allowed.