According to the IRS:
The list of donors filed with Form 990 is specifically excluded from the information available for public inspection, except for donors to private foundations and political organizations.
This means that trying to learn who has donated to a particular nonprofit can be challenging. However, some nonprofits may thank their donors, particularly major donors, in public documents, like annual reports, newsletters, or their web sites. But be aware that these donor lists may not be comprehensive or indicate the donation amount.
Foundation Center libraries and some Funding Information Network locations subscribe to databases that can help in researching individual donors.
Check your nearest location for availability.
Again, these resources will not necessarily be comprehensive for all nonprofits or donors since availability of data largely depends on how much information a nonprofit or donor will disclose voluntarily.
To learn about donors who have contributed to private foundations, you can search the Trustees, Officers, and Donors field in Foundation Directory Online.
Foundation and corporate donations
Information on foundation and corporate donors typically is more accessible. Private foundations, including private corporate foundations, must publicly disclose all of their grants in their annual tax filings.
Corporations are not subject to the same public disclosure rules when they give to a nonprofit directly rather than through a corporate foundation. They might make their support public in order to build their community image.
You can research donations or grants from foundations and corporations with the following resources:
- Foundation Directory Online (FDO) has a Search Grants mode where you can search by recipient name to find recent grants made by larger foundations. (Note, Search Grants mode doesn't index ALL foundation grants, only those from larger foundations.) With its Search 990s mode, you can do a keyword search for an organization's name in all Forms 990 in our database. Results will include smaller foundations whose grants aren't indexed in Search Grants mode. Subscribe to use FDO from your own location or visit Foundation Center libraries and Funding Information Network locations to use it for free.
- Forms 990: Private foundations must list all grants authorized each in their annual Form 990-PF submitted to the IRS. At minimum, they must include the grantee's name and the grant amount. Some foundations also briefly describe the grant's purpose. More about Form 990-PF
- Web sites for foundations and corporate funders may have lists of recent grantees. Use Foundation Directory Online, our search tool, to find a private foundation's contact information, including web addresses when available.
- Track nonprofit news or create web alerts (like Google Alerts) for grant notices from your nonprofits or donors of interest. Examples of nonprofit news resources:
See also our related Knowledge Base articles:
- How can I learn about researching and cultivating individual donors?
- How can I find information about a particular (non-grantmaking) charity?
- Where can I find an organization's Form 990 or 990-PF?
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