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August 2009 (4 posts)

More Stats
August 24, 2009

Last week, I provided my periodic FDO Professional statistical update. As always, the details included the current number of records in our Search Grantmakers database—98,346. I've also been meaning to provide a breakdown of these funders by grantmaker type. Here's that, plus some background information on two of these funder types:

  • 73,726 independent foundations
  • 12,084 public charities
  • 7,791 operating foundations
  • 2,569 company-sponsored foundations
  • 1,296 corporate giving programs
  • 880 community foundations

While you'll find records for all types of foundations at the Basic, Plus, and Premium subscription levels, profiles on public charities and corporate giving programs are found only at the Platinum and Professional tiers. These unique philanthropic vehicles represent a significant source of private institutional funding beyond that of the traditional foundation. Here are the Foundation Center's definitions for each:

In general, a public charity is an organization that is tax-exempt under code section 501(c)(3) and is classified by the IRS as a public charity and not a private foundation. Public charities generally derive their funding or support primarily from the general public in carrying out their social, educational, religious, or other charitable activities serving the common welfare. Some public charities engage in grantmaking activities, although most engage in direct service or other tax-exempt activities. Public charities are eligible for maximum income tax-deductible contributions from the public and are not subject to the same rules and restrictions as private foundations. Some are also referred to as "public foundations" or "publicly supported organizations" and might use the term "foundation" in their names. Only those public charities that engage in grantmaking are included in Foundation Directory Online.

A corporate giving program is a grantmaking program established and administered within a for-profit business organization. Corporate giving programs do not have a separate endowment and their annual grant totals are generally more directly related to current profits. They are not subject to the same reporting requirements as private foundations. Some companies make charitable contributions through both a corporate giving program and a company-sponsored foundation.

By the way, if you're wondering why I didn't list "family foundations" in the list above, it's because we group them together with independent foundations. But if you're searching specifically for this private foundation subset, try entering "family foundation" in the Keyword Search field on the Search Grantmakers Screen in conjunction with your other search criteria. The words "family foundation" will appear in the Additional Descriptor field of a grantmaker profile if a foundation has disclosed that its funds are derived from members of a single family.

Statistical Update
August 20, 2009

Here's the latest FDO Professional statistical update:

  • 98,346 grantmakers
  • 495,598 trustees, officers, and donors 
  • 1,744,134 grants
  • 3,486 companies
  • 584,740 keyword-searchable 990s

Taxonomy Tip
August 14, 2009

I've mentioned before that the Foundation Center utilizes a standardized taxonomy when indexing, for example, the giving interests of grantmakers and the purpose of grants. This taxonomy is the backbone that enables subscribers to retrieve extremely targeted lists of results. But frequently, users will contact me to make a valid point: with a taxonomy consisting of over 1,100 terms, how does one know which term is being used for a particular area of interest? For example, if you're looking for support for a job-related program, how would you know that this area of interest falls under "Employment" in our taxonomy? Here's a simple tip that I think can help:

When you're stumped, use the Keyword Search field. Let's say you're looking for a grant for a pre-school curriculum program. If you enter "pre-school" in the Keyword Search field on the Search Grantmakers Screen, you'll retrieve a list of grantmaker records containing "pre-school" anywhere in the text of their profiles. Next, open up a few of the records and take a look at the Fields of Interest section. Chances are good that "Education, early childhood education" will be listed. That's the taxonomy term that we assign to funders that support organizations working in the area of pre-school curriculum. You might need to review a few records before you detect a trend that indicates the correct term for your area of interest. Then, you can go back to the Search Grantmakers Screen and select "Education, early childhood education" from the Fields of Interest index and retrieve a targeted list of all grantmakers identified by our editorial staff as supporters of early childhood education-related programs.

If you're a Plus subscriber or higher, I also encourage you to use the Search Grants database in the same way. With over 1.7 million grant descriptions, you'll find plenty of examples showing what taxonomy term is being used for any area of interest.

Adobe Reader 9.0
August 05, 2009

Adobe Reader For those Professional subscribers who have upgraded to Adobe Reader 9.0, or are planning to, please note that the highlighting feature is turned off by default in this version. This means that when using FDO's Search 990s tool, the keywords that you search for won't be highlighted in the 990 documents that match your criteria nor will Adobe Reader automatically jump to the first instance of your keyword. Here's how to enable the highlighting feature in Adobe Reader 9.0:

  1. Open up a 990 in FDO and right-click anywhere on the document
  2. Select Page Display Preferences
  3. Under Categories, select Search
  4. Click the check box for Enable search highlights from external highlight server
  5. Click the OK button

If you need help enabling this important Adobe Reader feature, feel free to give us a call at (800) 424-9836.