Foundation Basics

FavoriteQuickly learn about foundations in this curated guide from the Council on Foundations which addresses: What is a charitable organization? What is a foundation? What is a private foundation? What is a public charity? Do charities pay taxes? What are some key differences between a public charity and a private foundation? What are some different kinds of private foundations? What are the different types of public charities? Are contributions made to foundations tax deductible?

The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations

FavoriteThis report represents the latest in a decades-long collaboration between Foundation Center and Council on Foundations to regularly analyze the data and trends on international grantmaking by U.S. foundations. In addition to a detailed analysis of funding trends by issue areas, regions, population focus, and strategies, this report also relates these trends to key events and developments during the time period, such as the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the reversal of the global gag rule, and the increasing legal restrictions faced by civil society in countries around the world.

Starting a Foundation

FavoriteThe Council on Foundations is a membership organization that supports grantmakers in various aspects of foundation management. They supply basic information to help with understanding the general steps in starting a foundation.


FavoriteThis report provides salary, benefits, and diversity data for full-time staff at U.S. foundations to aid in budget planning and personnel practice benchmarking. Information is presented by grantmaker type, foundation type, asset size, and geographic location. Contents include: Salary data on 9,730 full-time staff from 970 organizations Increase, bonus, and severance eligibility and activity data Staff counts for full and part-time staff by grantmaker type and asset size Gender, race/ethnicity, age, and disability counts Staff tenure, departure, and turnover rates CEO-specific compensation, benefits, and discretionary grantmaking practices Benefits practices and employer costs

Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources

FavoriteMastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources is an annual subscription service through which subscribers receive a number of chapters per year working towards a full offering of around 40 chapters. The Compendium allows all subscribers, even those without legal training, to understand the laws impacting philanthropy. Each chapter delves into a separate topic of foundation law and is written by Council attorneys with contributions from other experienced attorneys. There will be a significant number of topics intended to benefit community and private foundations separately. The chapters also include tips for incorporating relevant law into your Read more

Center for Community Foundation Excellence Series

FavoriteThese courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field in short order. You’ll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field, to help you work more effectively.

National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

FavoriteThe Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, an accreditation program created by community foundations for community foundations. They are peer-driven, voluntary, and self-regulatory.  

International Giving by U.S. Community Foundations: Local Communities with Global Reach

FavoriteThis report, a joint effort by the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center, examines the current state and recent trends in international giving and engagement by large U.S. community foundations. The first-ever analysis of this type suggests that many community foundations are beginning to adopt a broader, more nuanced definition of “community” than they have in the past.

Working with Grantees

FavoriteTo many nonprofits, foundation operations are shrouded in mystery. Because prospective grantees are seeking funding from foundations, there may be a perceived power imbalance. However, building strong and effective relationships with grantees can help foundations develop new knowledge and insights into issues, and to test and scale innovative strategies. Open communication, approachability, sharing lessons learned, and collaborative evaluation are key to developing strong partnerships with grantees. Resources are free or for Council members. Data: Not Another Four Letter Word Grantmaking Application Process Resource Guide: A Grantmaking Primer Tips for Effective Grantee Relations Exiting Responsibly: Best Donor Practices in Ending Field Read more

Effective and Emerging Approaches to Mission-Related Investing

FavoriteThis white paper defines mission investing strategies, including: socially responsible investing (SRI); environmental, social, and governance (ESG); mission-related investing (MRI); and impact investing. Readers will also learn more about a nine-point impact investing roadmap with questions to help develop your foundation’s investment strategy.

35 Keys to Effective Evaluation

FavoriteAs the need for scarce grant dollars grows more intense, so does the need to make certain those dollars are spent as effectively as possible. Hence the question of how to evaluate the consequences of grant supported activities has risen to the forefront. This tool will help you make sure grant money is spent as effectively as possible and how to evaluate the consequences of grant supported activities  

Everything You Need to Know About Impact Investing (In 1 Hour!)

FavoriteIn this webinar experts will elaborate upon what it is, how to decide if it’s right for your organization and explore some of the the biggest hurdles holding individuals and organizations back from directing funds to impact investing. Industry experts Jean Case, Melanie Audette, and Dan Brillman, who will now be joined by Stacy Donohue and Kate Ahern lead the discussion and share how organizations can unite purpose with profit. Please view the Short Guide to Impact Investing as an additional resource and recommended primer before viewing the webinar.

Diverse Managers: Philanthropy’s Next Hurdle

FavoriteThis white paper outlines best practices with proven results that foundations can use to find and create a diverse and inclusive staff and investment advisory team. Readers will learn about ABFE’s Investment Manager Diversity Pledge that foundations and endowments can undertake to ensure that their organizations adopt inclusive practices encouraging managers of diverse ethnicity and gender to compete for positions in endowment management.