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Foundations and grant-making organizations

Use the "Categories" filter to find foundations and grantmaking organizations

In this help article...

The IRS doesn't have an official definition or classification for most foundations. What we know as a "foundation" is just a normal charity to the IRS, with no clear-cut difference than other nonprofits. Because of that, we at Cause IQ have created useful proxies for identifying foundations, helping you find organizations that make grants to other organizations (which is what foundations most commonly do).

However, there is a certain type of foundation that the IRS treats differently, Private Foundations. Private Foundations are a certain type of 501(c)(3) nonprofit that generally receive funding from specific individuals (versus organizations that receive support from a wide array of the public, membership dues, grants, etc.). For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and William & Flora Hewlett Foundation are private foundations funded almost solely by their original benefactors.

Grantmaking organizations (e.g., foundations)

To find all grant-making organizations and foundations in Cause IQ, add the "Grantmaking foundation" option in the Categories filter, found in the "Common" filters tab or in the "Categories and characteristics" section of the "All" filters tab. This category includes all private foundations and grantmaking organizations, what we normally call "foundations". Excluded from this would be organizations that don't actually make grants to other organizations or individuals (e.g., think tanks), even if they have the word "foundation" in their names. The exact criteria are:

  • IRS-recognized private foundations; OR
  • 501(c)(3) organizations that meet all of the following characteristics:
  1. More than 10% of revenue from grants, contributions, etc. (e.g., support from the general public)
  2. More than 50% of assets are investable assets (e.g., some sort of sustainable endowment support)
  3. More than 33% of expenditures as grants to individuals, organizations, or governments, worldwide
  4. More than 5% of expenditures in grants to organizations in the USA

These criteria were developed by our research team, after conversations with our customers and a detailed analysis of the characteristics of foundation-like and grantmaking organizations.

Private foundations

To find private foundations, add the "Private foundation" option in the Categories filter, found in the "Common" filters tab or in the "Categories and characteristics" section of the "All" filters tab. Private foundations are a subset of the "Grantmaking foundation" category described above. For more information on private foundations, see this IRS website.