Foundation Partners Fundraising Series, Part 1: An Introduction

This PLTW Blog entry is an excerpt from the PLTW Fundraising Toolkit. You can download the full toolkit here.

With the exception of some common IRS requirements, such as giving away five percent of their assets for charitable purposes on an annual basis, there is considerable variation across foundations in terms of asset size, staff size, charitable focus, grantmaking approach, and interaction with grantees.

Below, we’ve outlined key characteristics of both independent and community foundations.

Independent Foundations         

Independent foundations give based on charitable interests. While they may care about a variety of issues such as education, the environment, international development, or the arts, they all primarily have some sort of philanthropic goal and support organizations that will help them achieve their goal.

Community Foundations           

Community foundations are typically driven by meeting the needs of the community they serve. Most community foundations have a geographic focus, but they may support a broader range of issues than an independent foundation. While some may have some special initiatives, those initiatives are usually around targeting the biggest issues currently confronting the local or regional community.

Despite variations across the spectrum of foundations, they are united by a drive to give based on their charitable interests and meeting the needs of the communities they serve. As such, you’ll be best served by tapping into that driving force and seeking out partnerships with foundations that have a focus that aligns to your goals and vision. Organizations that concentrate on areas such as workforce development, community enhancement, and education are all great places to start.