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Tips for Using Foundation Finder

What is Foundation Finder?
Foundation Finder is a free lookup tool that provides basic facts on more than 61,000 private and community foundations in the U.S.

Who uses Foundation Finder?
Foundation Finder is designed for those seeking quick access to core information about a foundation, possibly as a starting point for more in-depth research. To use Foundation Finder, you can start with as little as a portion of a foundation name.

Getting started
To begin your search, go to the Foundation Name box. If you only know part of the foundation's name, just type in the part you know. Foundation Finder is not case-sensitive, so your entry may include any combination of lowercase and uppercase letters.

City and state
If you know more about the foundation, such as the city and/or state where it is located, you may limit your results list by entering this information in the City and State boxes. To add a state to your search criteria, click on the State box. A drop-down menu will appear. To select a state, scroll down the list and click on the name of the state you want. If you know the name of the city where the foundation is located, type that into the City box. Although you do not need to include city and state information to perform a search, it helps to limit your results list. Every query must include all or part of a foundation name.

Foundation names: former, partial, common
In some instances, foundations change their names or are commonly known by a name other than the one registered with the Internal Revenue Service. If you do not know a foundation's current or full name, you may base your query on its former, partial, or more commonly used name.

Finding a foundation
Once you have entered information into the appropriate boxes, click on the Find button. The results of your search will appear as an alphabetical list of foundations and the states where they are located. To retrieve a record, click on the foundation name. You will only be able to view one foundation record at a time.

The "Back" button
After you have looked at a foundation's record, use the Back button on your browser to return to the list of foundations generated by your query. You may continue to click on the Back button to return to the Foundation Finder home page.

List size
The maximum number of names you can retrieve in a single search is 200. If your search generates more than 200 names, you should refine it by entering more of the foundation name or by including the state and/or city where the foundation is located.

What's in a Foundation Finder record?
Gathered from a variety of sources, including IRS tax returns, annual reports, and survey questionnaires, the data in a Foundation Finder record include:

  • Foundation name: Full legal name of the foundation. If the foundation has changed its name or is commonly known by another name, Foundation Finder will include this information.

  • Address: Street, city, state, and zip code.

  • Telephone number: Area code and main number.

  • Contact person: Name and title of the first person or people you should contact at the foundation.

  • Additional information: The record may also include:

       - Supplemental address information, such as separate application address
       - Additional telephone numbers
       - Fax numbers
       - E-mail addresses
       - Internet URL addresses. If a URL is included, it will be a live link.

  • Type of foundation: Foundation Finder will indicate whether a foundation is a community foundation, a company-sponsored foundation, an independent foundation, or an operating foundation. Direct corporate giving programs and public charities are not included in the Foundation Finder database.

  • Fiscal date: The year-end date of the foundation's accounting period.

  • Assets: Total value of the foundation's investments at the end of the stated fiscal year.

  • Total giving: Total amount of all the grants and contributions paid by a foundation during the stated fiscal year.

  • EIN: Employer Identification Numbers assigned to the foundation by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Most Recent IRS Filing: Form 990-PF filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service. Tax returns are the most recent available. Tax returns are not available for community foundations, which are not required to file 990-PFs.

Other Foundation Center resources
Your Foundation Finder search may be just the beginning of your prospect research. Once you have obtained the information available from Foundation Finder, you may want to continue your inquiry, creating more refined and detailed profiles of the funders you are interested in.

To do this you will need to use more sophisticated research tools. You will find a wide range of free and fee-based resources at the Foundation Center's Web site, including links to hundreds of other sites relating to foundations and the funding research process.

The Foundation Directory Online Subscription Service
One Center resource that may be of particular interest to Foundation Finder users is The Foundation Directory Online Subscription Service, our online searchable databases accessible 24 hours a day on the Web. With a monthly or yearly subscription, you can search our databases of over 10,000 of the nation's largest funders and more than 100,000 grant records to generate targeted lists of funding prospects. The Foundation Directory Online Subscription Service features the same set of foundations included in The Foundation Directory, the definitive reference book for information on the largest foundations in the U.S. for nearly 40 years. These foundations hold assets of at least $2 million or distribute $200,000 or more in grants in their most recently reported fiscal year.

FC Search: The Foundation Center's Database on CD-ROM
Another electronic resource with even more foundation information is FC Search: The Foundation Center's Database on CD-ROM. FC Search is a full searchable database covering close to 50,000 U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. It also includes descriptions of more than 200,000 associated grants and lists more than 200,000 trustees, officers, and donors.

FC Search has a powerful search engine that enables users to select multiple criteria and create, in a matter of seconds, customized prospect lists, choosing from among 21 search fields. FC Search also links directly to the Internet, providing anyone with access to the Internet and either Netscape's Navigator or Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser software the ability to click directly from the grantmaker information on the CD to a grantmaker's Web site.

Updating your foundation's entry
If you are a foundation representative and discover incorrect information in your foundation's entry, please complete and submit our Foundation Finder Update Form. Information submitted through this form will be verified by the foundation before it is updated in the Foundation Center's database.