Foundations typically fund nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status as defined by the Internal Revenue Code. These are organizations whose purposes are charitable, educational, scientific, religious, literary, or cultural. A small number of foundations will also make grants to individuals, usually to help pay for educational expenses, or support artistic or research projects.
By and large, foundations do not make grants to for-profit enterprises. In very rare cases, foundations might fund a social enterprise -- a for-profit with a strong social mission. A small but growing number of foundations 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.
The Foundation Center specializes in providing resources for nonprofits, so if you are seeking funds to start a for-profit business, please review the resources below for more authoritative information. You might also consult the business section of your local public library, or economic development agencies in your city, county, or state.
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