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Understanding Charitable Foundations, Nonprofits Best Allies

If you are not in the nonprofit industry and you hear the word "foundation", you are probably going to place them in the same category as you do all nonprofits-operational charities that are carrying a mission to help people and contribute to society. This is not entirely accurate. However, foundations contribute to society and help people, indirectly. Let's dive into what is a foundation, their history, who's behind them and what is their impact.

It is believed that foundations made their first appearance through the work of the Peabody Education Fund during the Civil War era, later modernized by the efforts of people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller who gave large monetary gifts between 1900 and 1920. What began as 2 foundation creators who were people endowed with fabulous wealth giving back to their communities became a segment of over 130,000 foundations in the private and public sectors. In 2022 alone, foundations donated $104 B to charities in the US.

The impact of foundations on the nonprofit industry is remarkable, as they play a vital role in empowering nonprofits to address critical issues and drive positive change in society.

We made a list of the different types of foundations, the exceptional work they do and the contributions they've made to push our community and society towards progress.

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Giving Grant Check

Photo Source: Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Corporate Foundations:

Corporate foundations are philanthropic organizations that are created and financially supported by a corporation. The foundation is created as a separate legal entity from the corporation but with close ties to the corporation.

1. Humana Foundation: Donated over $21M in 2022 in philanthropic efforts.

Part of the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., a Kentucky-based health insurance company, is committed to advancing health equity by working to eliminate unjust, avoidable, and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare. They specifically support seniors, veterans, and school-aged children in living connected, healthy lives.

Currently offering $250k in grants to nonprofits focused on Health, Disaster Relief, and Research. See the grant on NEDDIE Grant Central

2. Costco: In 2020, Costco donated over 67 million pounds of food in the United States, which is roughly 56 million meals.

Costco Wholesale’s charitable efforts specifically focus on programs supporting children, education, and health and human services in the communities where they do business.

Currently offering several grants with different amounts for nonprofits all over the US, including Puerto Rico.

3. Intel Foundation: Since 1988 the foundation has donated over $731M to nonprofit organizations.

A non-operating corporate foundation established by Intel Corporation in 1988, their primary initiatives support philanthropic causes of interest to Intel Corporation employees and is committed to lift people and communities around the globe—to reach those we haven’t reached before, to expand STEM education into new communities, and to empower women, girls, and people of color.

Currently offering several grants of different amounts for nonprofits all over the US, including Puerto Rico, that focus on Education, Disaster Relief, Human Services, Community Development, International, Environment, and Youth. See the grant on NEDDIE Grant Central

4. Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation: Since 1970 the foundation has donated over 20B yen, equal to $142.6M.

MEAF supports innovative projects that help youth with disabilities develop the leadership and employment skills they need to succeed. They also consider projects to create tools that help break down barriers to employment and increase job opportunities for young people with disabilities entering the workforce, including returning veterans with disabilities.

Currently offering up to $100k to nonprofits in all of the US, including Puerto Rico.

A woman speaking in front of a crowd of young adults. The initiative is called Speak With Purpose.

Photo Source: Speak With Purpose, a nonprofit initiative supported by the Medina Foundation.

Family Foundations:

A private family foundation is a type of private foundation set up by a family, funded with the family's assets and often run by family members who can also participate in its charitable grantmaking.

1. J.W. Couch Foundation: The foundation has donated $2M to nonprofits in 2023, and has $540K remaining to donate this year.

The Couch family humbly stewards the foundation J.W. Couch created to carry on his legacy of service for future generations. They invest in and support efforts to protect the environment, further conservation and preservation initiatives, and save historical architecture that preserves community heritage. They also support initiatives that promote wellness and mental health and organizations seeking to provide further education for all communities.

Currently offering different amounts in grants to nonprofits in all of the US, including Puerto Rico, that are focused on Conservation, Education, Wildlife Habitat, Social Services, and Environment.

2. Scaife Family Foundation:

The foundation has donated over $180M to nonprofits since 1985.

The Foundation grant awards will support and develop programs that demonstrate the beneficial interaction between humans and animals, early intervention and prevention in the area of drug and alcohol addiction, and address issues surrounding the health and welfare of women and children.

Currently offering different amounts in grants to nonprofits in all of the US, including Puerto Rico.

3. The Medina Foundation: The foundation has donated over $121M to nonprofits, donating approximately $4M every year.

The Medina Foundation is a family foundation that works to foster positive change in the Greater Puget Sound area. In honoring the vision of our founder, Norton Clapp, the Medina Foundation aspires to improve lives by funding human service organizations that provide direct support to Puget Sound residents. They prioritize organizations that provide direct services to people in the areas of positive pathways for youth, stabilization for families and individuals, and economic opportunities, particularly youth, individuals, and families who are low-income, facing barriers, or in communities that have historically been under-resourced. Currently offering different amounts in grants to nonprofits in the Puget Sound area in Washington State.

Staff from Puerto Rico Community Foundation posing with clown red noses on their noses.

Photo Source: Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Community Foundation)

Community Foundations:

A community foundation typically supports local charities in a specific geographic area. A community foundation is a public charity that typically focuses on supporting a geographical area, primarily by facilitating and pooling donations used to address community needs and support local nonprofits.

1. Puerto Rico Community Foundation:

Since 1984 it has donated over $77M to nonprofits and individuals in Puerto Rico.

The Foundation facilitates transformation processes in communities, promoting access to renewable energy, clean water, housing, community economic development, and education. We believe that through access, tenure, and management of these resources, we promote equity, social justice, and community prosperity. It also provides scholarship to students from low-income families.

Currently offering different amounts in grants to nonprofits and individuals in Puerto Rico but only by invitation. You can help this community foundation by making a donation to support their projects. Donate to this community foundation

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Giving Grant Check

Photo Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Public Foundations:

Public foundations are considered charities as a matter of law and generally perform charitable activities rather than issuing grants. Some examples of statutory public charities are churches, universities, schools, nonprofit hospitals, and medical research institutions.

Americorps Senior Helping Child With Disabilities

Photo Source: AmeriCorps

Federal Grants:

A federal grant is a way the government funds ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Examples of programs that attract the grant include critical recovery initiatives and innovative research.

NEDDIE Grant Central is an end-to-end grant tool that helps charities search and apply for active grants nationwide. It offers a search tool, foundation data, connection to grant writers, ready to download grant templates and more. This is the latest effort from NEDDIE to connect nonprofits and foundations to continue accelerating progress and helping people in need.

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