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Foundation Finder

Tips for Using Foundation Finder

What is Foundation Finder?
Foundation Finder is a lookup tool provided to the public free of charge by the Foundation Center. It provides basic facts on private foundations, community foundations, grantmaking public charities, and corporate giving programs in the U.S.

Who uses Foundation Finder?
Foundation Finder is designed for those seeking quick access to basic information about grantmakers, possibly as a starting point for more in-depth research.

Getting started
Foundation Finder has five search boxes, or fields, that you can use in any combination to locate a specific grantmaker, or grantmakers in a specific geography:

If you know the name of the grantmaker you want to find, begin your search by going to the Name field. If you only know part of the grantmaker'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. If the grantmakerís name is a common one, you can limit your results by using one or more of the other search fields.

Former, partial, and common names
In some instances, grantmakers 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 enter its former, partial, or more commonly used name.

City, state, and zip
You can identify grantmakers geographically by using the City, State, and/or Zip fields. To find grantmakers in a specific city, type that name into the City box. 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. Use the Zip box to find grantmakers in a specific zip code.

Metropolitan areas
To approximate a metro area, try truncating the first two or three digits of a zip code using an asterisk, which is the wildcard symbol. For example, 60* will include most of the greater Chicago area.

EIN (Employer Identification Number)
EIN is the number assigned to each foundation and public charity by the Internal Revenue Service. If you know the Employer Identification Number of the grantmaker you want to look up, enter it in the EIN box. The EIN should be entered in the search field without a hyphen.

Search techniques
There are three Boolean operators that can be incorporated into a search: AND, OR, and NOT. Each of these can be used in the Name, City, Zip, and EIN fields (although not all three of them will be useful in every field).

  • Placing OR between search terms broadens a search, retrieving all records containing either term (Minneapolis OR St. Paul)
  • The AND operator between search terms narrows a search, retrieving only records containing both terms (Marvin AND Emily).
  • The NOT operator limits a search, excluding records with terms you enter to the right of the NOT operator (Ford NOT Motor).

Wildcards can be used to search for variations on words. An asterisk (*) allows you to find words with variations on several letters at the beginning or end of a word. For example, Am* in the Name field will bring up American Equine Foundation, the Al-Ameen Foundation, the God Bless America fund, etc. A question mark (?) allows you to find variations on a single letter and is most useful if you are uncertain of the spelling of a word. For example, minn?apolis allows you to find Minneapolis, even if you are uncertain if the second vowel is an e or an i.

Finding a foundation
Once you have entered your search terms into the appropriate fields, click on the Find button. The results of your search will appear as an alphabetical list of grantmakers and the states where they are located. To retrieve a record, click on the foundation name. You will only be able to view one 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 results generated by your query. You may click again on the Back button to return to the Foundation Finder home page, or you may use the Search Again link that appears at the top and bottom of the results set.

List size
The maximum number of names you can retrieve in a single search is 5,000. If your search generates more than 5,000 names, you should refine it by entering more specific information in a search box and/or using one or more of the additional search criteria available.

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 may include:

  • Name: Full legal name of the grantmaker. If the grantmaker 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 person(s) you should contact.

  • Additional information: The record may also include:

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

  • Type of foundation: Foundation Finder will indicate whether a grantmaker is a community foundation, company-sponsored foundation, independent foundation, operating foundation, public charity, or corporate giving program.

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

  • Assets: Total value of the foundation's investments at the end of the stated fiscal year. Note, a record for a corporate giving program will not list an assets amount.

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

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

  • Most Recent IRS Filing: Click on the link to view the latest available IRS Form 990-PF for a private foundation or IRS Form 990 for a community foundations or a public charity. Tax returns are the most recent available. Note, corporate giving programs are not required to file Form 990-PF or Form 990.

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.

Foundation Directory Online
The Foundation Centerís online searchable database is accessible 24 hours a day with any Internet connection. With a monthly or annual subscription, you can search our databases of U.S. grantmakers, recently awarded grants, and trustee, officer, and donor names — all fully-indexed. Updated weekly, itís the most accurate source for grantseekers who want to generate targeted lists of funding prospects.

Updating your foundation's entry
If you are a grantmaker and wish to update the basic information found in your organizationís profile, please complete and submit our Foundation Finder Update Form. Information submitted through this form will be verified by the grantmaker before it is updated in the Foundation Center's database. To provide updates of more detailed information, please see the Foundation Directory Online Updater.
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