Philanthropic Foundations

Private foundations contribute to the public good through their time, talent and treasure. 

But what exactly is a foundation, and how can a government agency work with them? 

Discussion Questions

1. What are the three kinds of nonprofits, as designated under the IRS tax code? What distinguishes a private foundation from other nonprofits?

2. What types of restrictions might determine the ability of a government agency to work with a nonprofit? Where do these restrictions come from?

3. Reflecting on your experience, what are some examples of public-private partnership between an agency and a private foundation? 


As with any partnership, we need to consider the "goodness of fit" when working with a private foundation. 

Learn about how foundations differ in mission, geography and investment strategies, and what three best practices may help you get started working with foundations.

Discussion Questions

1. What kind of foundation would be best suited to supporting your work in partnership? National, focal or local?

2. What are the three Rs for working with foundations? How might you gather information about a foundation, its programs and its people?

3. Reflect on a recent project, program or initiative in your agency. How could you demonstrate "return on investment" to an interested funder? What completed or anticipated results would make a compelling case? 


Anne Desmarais

Anne Desmarais

Assistant Director
Peer Learning Coordinator
Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy 

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