Funding Tips - Types of Foundations

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

(The following are examples of the most common non government foundation types)

1. General Purpose Foundations

  • Includes most of the larger,well known foundations;
  • Operates with relatively few grant-making restrictions, and are considered the pacemakers or standard setters within the foundations field;
  • Usually governed by a knowledgeable board of directors assisted by a trained professional staff person;
  • Has about two thirds of all assets of foundations, and 50% of all grants awarded (ex. Ford Foundation)

2. Special Purpose Foundations

Restrict their grants to:

  • a specific field of research;
  • a particular activity, or
  • a designated geographic area.

3. Corporate or Company Sponsored Foundations

  • They channel the philanthropies of business organizations although they are separate legal organizations from the sponsoring corporations;
  • Generally, grants are given within the communities where the company is located.

4. Family Foundations

  • By far the largest number of private foundations in the U.S.;
  • Usually have been set up by the donor for his/her current contributions;
  • A family foundation is rarely reached by an appeal outside the donor's range of interest; grants usually reflect the immediate interest of the donor and go to a college, church hospital, or community fund, of the donors' choice

5. Community Foundations

Such foundations are supported by, and operated for a specific community or region. Thus they usually restrict their giving to a specific geographic area and administers them to support any particular designated interests of the donors. Great sources for scholarships for local students; needs assessment for local problems; funds to use to raise more money. Usually not interested in research or in creating a unique solutions to a problem. (ex. Chicago Community)