Research

The Council on Foundations conducts and partners on national research focused on foundation management, grantmaker compensation, governance, and investment performance and practices. Use our research tools and publications to benchmark your policies and practices against peers in the field and better understand trends affecting grantmaker operations.

In addition to the publications listed below, we produce customized reports with data from our annual Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report and from our 2010 Foundation Management Series.

In-Depth knowledge on Research

The CCSF is the most comprehensive and authoritative annual survey of its kind on foundation investment and governance practices, and provides data for the benefit of foundation trustees and staff, as well as the larger community of grantees, policymakers and stakeholders. The 228 foundations participating in the 2015 CCSF represent $100.6 billion in assets. One hundred thirty private and 98 community foundations make up the Study, which covers the 2015 fiscal year

The Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing, believed to be the largest of its kind, provides foundations with invaluable insights into how the sector and individual portfolios are being shaped by responsible investing practices, potential hurdles to their adoption, and what the entry points are for those interested in fully engaging these practices in their endowment strategies.

This full report offers the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. It contains salaries for 35 full-time positions; allows grantmakers to benchmark compensation against their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region; and offers extensive information on benefits policies and practices.

The 2015 Board Compensation Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their board compensation practices against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type and asset size.

The 2015 Administrative Expenses Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their administrative expenses – their grants, salaries, qualifying distributions, etc. – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2015 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type and asset size.

The 2015 Salary Tables provide aggregate information on staff salaries among U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. This data is typically used by Council members and other foundations to provide insight into appropriate compensation for new hires or existing employees. The 2015 tables compile data on over 9,000 full-time employees at 951 foundations with over $279 billion in assets. Responses came from across the country and the tables examine compensation by position, type of foundation, asset size, and region. Mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentiles are provided.

The 2014 Board Compensation Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their board compensation practices against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by foundation type and asset size.

The 2014 Salary Tables provide aggregate information on staff salaries among U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. The tables compile data on nearly 9,500 full-time employees from across the country, and include information by type of foundation and region. Mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentiles are provided.