Foundations typically fund nonprofit public charities, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. These are organizations whose purposes are charitable, educational, scientific, religious, literary, or cultural. The small number of foundations that give to individuals typically do so to help pay for educational expenses or support artistic or research projects.
By and large, foundations do not make grants to for-profit enterprises. If you are seeking funds to start a for-profit business, please consult the resources below for more information. You might also consult the business section of your local public library, or economic development agencies in your city, county, or state.
If your for-profit business has a strong social mission, it might be considered a social enterprise. Social enterprise, also known as social entrepreneurship, broadly encompasses ventures of nonprofits, civic-minded individuals, and for-profit businesses that can yield both financial and social returns.
A small but growing number of foundations may provide program-related investments (PRIs) to social enterprises as well as nonprofits. PRIs are low-interest loans that a foundation can give to organizations or projects that match the funder’s giving interests.
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