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Philanthropic Foundations in Education

Philanthropic foundations are tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations recognized by Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code as existing to distribute funding for charitable purposes. These organizations are restricted from participating in political and legislative activities, and they are required to distribute a certain amount of money annually from their asset base according to an Internal Revenue Service formula. Philanthropic foundations have a long, yet evolving history of making contributions to education in the United States, and they have made investments across the education spectrum, from early childhood to K-12 to postsecondary. Foundations range from small, local donors focused on a single issue to large, national or even international grantmakers that have an interest in myriad aspects of education. The proper role of philanthropic foundations in ...

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