Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world.
A world enriched by the effective allocation of philanthropic resources, informed public discourse about philanthropy, and broad understanding of the contributions of nonprofit activity to increasing opportunity and transforming lives.
To strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy in the U.S. and around the world.
- Philanthropy is an engine for positive social change worldwide.
- Transparency and accountability are keys to earning the public trust.
- Knowledge about philanthropy starts with accurate information.
- Access to accurate information about philanthropy advances responsible and effective use of resources.
- Grantmaker and nonprofit effectiveness is enhanced by shared information and understanding.
- We deliver the highest quality of service to all those who use our resources.
- We build partnerships that help us fulfill our mission.
- We recognize diversity as an asset essential to accomplishing our mission.
- We preserve our credibility by remaining independent
- We build capacity, talent, and excellence within the
- We embrace innovation and harness technology to maximize our effectiveness.
- We make a significant portion of our resources available
- We exercise fiscal responsibility as a means of achieving
The Center accomplishes its mission by:
- Operating library/learning centers in five locations—New York City; Washington, DC; Atlanta; Cleveland; and San Francisco—that offer free access to information resources and educational programs.
- Maintaining unique databases of information on more than 108,000 foundations, corporate donors, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S. and over 3 million of their recent grants. Its Foundation Directory Online subscription service is the most popular means for searching these databases.
- Providing a content-rich web site with a variety of free search tools, tutorials, downloadable reports, and other information updated daily, including Philanthropy News Digest, its daily news service, and IssueLab, its searchable online collection of more than 12,000 documents representing one of the largest collections of social sector knowledge.
- Conducting research and publishing reports on the growth of the foundation field and on trends in foundation support of the nonprofit sector, including research advisories on issues including diversity, public policy, and social media.
- Educating thousands of people each year through a full curriculum of training courses — in the classroom and online in the form of self-paced courses and tutorials, as well as webinars. Free and affordable classes nationwide cover the funding research process, proposal writing, grantmakers and their giving, and related topics.
- Publishing books ranging from basic primers on fundraising and nonprofit management to comprehensive reference works.
- Coordinating a nationwide network of funding information centers — 470 Cooperating Collections that offer free local access to core Center resources and training.