Foundation Center - Knowledge to build on.
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A Message to Grantseekers
Foundation Center Libraries
Funding Information Network
What's in the Core Collection?
Initial Questions
Beginning Your Research - Nonprofit Grantseekers
Beginning Your Research - Individual Grantseekers
The Proposal Process
Information Resources
Guide to Funding Research

Foundation Center Libraries

The Foundation Center operates libraries in Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. All five Center libraries have staff trained to help you. Whether you are seeking $100 or $100,000 for your project or nonprofit organization, someone is available to answer your questions and to point you in the right direction. Another option is to query the Online Librarian. Our staff will respond by e-mail, usually within two business days. Information on how to use Center resources is available at our libraries and at many of our Funding Information Network locations in the form of orientations, tours, and printed brochures as well as on the web site. The Foundation Center's mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector by advancing knowledge about U.S. philanthropy.
To achieve our mission, we:

  • Collect, organize, and communicate information on U.S. philanthropy
  • Conduct and facilitate research on trends in the field
  • Provide education and training on the grantseeking process
  • Ensure public access to information and services through our web site, print and electronic publications, five library/learning centers, and our international Funding Information Network locations.
Founded in 1956, the Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.

The Foundation Center is not a foundation. We do not make grants; rather, we provide information. Our librarians cannot do your research for you. They can assist you in locating appropriate print and electronic resources, but they are not permitted to serve as consultants on funding for your project or to make referrals or arrange for introductions to specific grantmakers. Our librarians cannot write or review your proposals for you. They will direct you to resources that can help with this endeavor, especially The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing and our one-hour or full-day proposal writing and proposal budgeting seminars.

All Center libraries and many Funding Information Network locations maintain a selection of books and periodicals relating to fundraising and philanthropy. The Center's online bibliographic catalog, The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature, lists many of these resources. The print publications issued by the Center are available for use in Foundation Center libraries and Funding Information Network locations free of charge. They are also available for sale in our libraries and through the Marketplace on our web site. Center-operated libraries and Funding Information Network locations also offer free access to Foundation Directory Online.

Foundation Center's database information is available through Foundation Directory Online, which allows you to perform online searches on more than 140,000 grantmakers. Foundation Directory Online Essential provides detailed information on more than 120,000 grantmakers, more than 500,000 key decision maker names, and allows you to search a comprehensive Forms 990 database by keyword. Foundation Directory Online Preferred offers all of the above plus access to detailed information on more than 3.4 million recent grants. And with Foundation Directory Online Professional, you get access to more than 140,000 expanded grantmaker profiles and more than 3.8 million detailed grant records plus powerful search and data management tools among many other additional features. All Foundation Center libraries and Funding Information Network locations offer free access to Foundation Directory Online Professional.

The Associates Program is a membership program designed to provide specialized services to nonprofit organizations with frequent need for information on foundations and corporate givers, their grants, and their donors, officers, board members, and trustees. The Associates Program offers toll-free telephone reference, e-mail reference, photocopy and fax service, computer searches of Foundation Center databases, and access to a special Associates-only web site. For further information on becoming an Associate, call (800) 424-9836.

Whether or not you are able to actually visit a Foundation Center library or Funding Information Network location, the Center's web site includes a wealth of fundraising information and links to other nonprofit and grantmaker sites. In this introductory resource guide we have provided a number of links to other areas or parts of our site, but you will want to explore the site thoroughly yourself to understand the scope of the information and the other links provided. A good place to get an overview of the Foundation Center's web site is the Welcome New Visitors area.
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