Frequently Asked Questions

General Information
About the Online Directory

General Information

What's in the Directory?

Information of interest to NONPROFITS on private foundations, some public charities, some corporate foundations and giving programs.  The foundations profiled are 1) located in Virginia and have demonstrated giving in Virginia or 2) are located in North Carolina, Maryland, Florida or the District of Columbia and have demonstrated giving in Virginia. 

What's NOT in the Directory?

The Directory does NOT contain information about obtaining grants for businesses or for individuals (with the exception of a small number of academic scholarships).  The Directory does not profile either state or Federal government  programs. We do not generally include a Foundation which is a supporting foundation of another Foundation or organization, unless it also awards grants to 'outside' requestors. Foundations which are restricted in their giving by their charter documents (wills, court orders, etc.) are not profiled.  Foundations which over the past few years have assets and giving of less than $5,000 may not be included.

Where does the directory information come from?

The bulk of the information is from the IRS PF990  forms for the Foundations. We receive this information in batch form from the IRS 4-5 times per year. It is then reviewed, pertinent sections extracted and information entered into the Directory database.

How old is the information?

Most Foundations file tax returns April 15 for a year that ends December 31 of the previous year. A significant number of Foundations have fiscal years that do not correspond to the calendar year.  Foundations are also eligible to request extensions on filing.  In general, it is about 4-6 months after the Foundation files its tax return before the information reaches us. Information is updated at a rate of approximately 15-25 returns per week.  Historically at any given time, 75-80% of the entries profile the past tax year, with 10% more current and 10% older.    

How do you decide which Foundations to include?

There are a number of better known Foundations which are always included. There are also a small number of 'name' Foundations which are not.  Large Foundations which are not included generally have a very limited grant making focus and/or do not award grants to Virginia organizations.   New foundations are profiled as information is available.  

How frequently is the Directory updated? If I purchase today, how old is the information?

What does the phrase 'gives to preselected organizations' mean, and why do you profile those Foundations?

Foundations which designate themselves as 'preselected' do not accept unsolicited applications, accept applications only when sponsored by a board member, may not accept applications at all, or their giving may be restricted by trust or corporate documents. They may be family/extended family organizations or are organizations with a relatively narrow focus of giving.  In many cases they are well known and the profile has been requested by subscribers. In other cases, these Foundations are profiled in order that subscribers do not expend  time and energy on Foundations for which they are not a good match.

I see Trustees listed in one city and I know they live somewhere else.

Many Foundations list their trustees' address as the corporate or tax compliance  address of the Foundation.

Do you profile government or corporate programs?

We concentrate on Private Foundations, some of which are sponsored by corporations.  The Directory has selected information on Corporate Giving programs.  The Directory does not profile government programs. 

Do you profile any Foundations other than in Virginia?

We concentrate on Foundations that are located in Virginia and have significant giving in the Commonwealth.  However, we profile selected Foundations in North Carolina, Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia  which do significant grant making in Virginia.  Occasionally,  we profile a Foundation located elsewhere which has demonstrated significant giving in Virginia.  

Is there information in the directory which would help a small business or an individual?

The Directory does profile a very few Foundations which award academic scholarships in addition to their grants to nonprofit organizations.   Most of the Foundations, however, award grants only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and specifically exclude grants to individuals.   There are currently no Foundations in the Directory which award grants directly to businesses.  We suggest individuals contact the Social Services agency in their locale for personal assistance grants.  For businesses we suggest individuals contact the Small Business Administration ( or contact the Economic Development agency of their local government.  


I have three people in the office, can we all use the DB?

The subscription is $350 for the primary user. Additional user ID/passwords are $50 each and can be added at any time. If you change staff, we can change the id/password.
  * We offer special subscriptions for public libraries.  Please contact us.

What is the advantage to the online over the print ?

Would I find the Directory at my local library?

A number of libraries around Virginia have print copies.  Check with your local library. Please check with the librarian to determine the edition/copyright date.  A few libraries have online subscriptions which patrons may use from the library computers.