Corporate Foundations in the United States

  • Joannie Tremblay-BoireEmail author
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


In the United States, corporate foundations are seen as part of the foundation sector and of the nonprofit sector more generally. They began to emerge after World War II. In the early years, corporate philanthropy was purposely detached from business interests, a trend that changed staring in the 1980s. Although there are no regulations targeted specifically toward corporate foundations in the United States, they are subject to regulations as private foundations by tax authorities. According to the Foundation Center, as of 2014, about 3 percent of American foundations were corporate foundations (2521 out of 86,726). One estimate suggests that 40 percent of corporations in America have a corporate foundation. They tend to give locally, to relatively uncontroversial causes, and to many grantees—such a strategy creates goodwill from the community, a better trained workforce, and a loyal customer base. Ironically, as corporate foundation officials are pressured to maintain a strategic connection to the parent corporation, they often struggle to find support for the foundation’s activities from their peers inside the parent corporation. This tension between serving the greater good and advancing the interests of the corporation is a challenge that no other type of foundation is facing.


Corporate foundations United States Institutional environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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