Dartmouth College Library Bulletin

Journeys End


AMONG THE regularly asked questions in the Reference Room is the query, `Where do I find information about foundations that give money?' Sometimes this information is wanted for an organization, sometimes for an individual.

Joining the directories in the Reference Room that help answer the question is America's New Foundations, published by the Taft Group. Though now in its fourth edition (1990), it is new to the collection. The foundations included in this guide are those formed since 1980 and having assets or giving totaling $100,000 or more. The arrangement is alphabetically by state with five indexes providing access: by grant type, by recipient type, a list of officers and directors, grant recipients by location, and an index to foundations and corporations. This edition includes more than 2,600 listings.

Perhaps the most widely known, long established directory is The Foundation Directory, published by the Foundation Center in New York City. The current 1991 edition, listing 7,600 foundations, is the largest so far issued and represents foundations that have assets of over one million dollars or give $100,000 or more each year. Beginning with this 1991 edition the directory is being issued annually rather than every two years; the change to annual publication acknowledges the growth in the number of qualifying foundations. Part 2 of The Foundation Directory is a listing of groups having grant programs of between $25,000 and $100,000.

In addition to The Foundation Directory the Foundation Center has several other directory-type publications. The Foundation Grants Index Quarterly provides '. . . timely information on private independent, company-sponsored, and community foundation grants as well as on the foundations themselves' (from introduction to the issues). Source Book Profiles provides detailed information on the thousand largest foundations, and does it on a two-year basis, 500 a year. The National Data Book of Foundations, an annual, gives essential information on over 30,000 foundations. The Foundation Grants Index, also annual, identifies grants of $5,000 or more and made by the 100 largest foundations as well as by other private and community foundations. For those interested only in grants for individuals, there is Foundation Grants to Individuals, now in its seventh (1991) edition and including over 1,200 foundations. Organizations offering grants to individuals can be identified in The Foundation Directory, but only by scanning the descriptions where that information appears, sometimes under the 'Limitations' heading or under the 'Financial Data' tag. The prefatory material in The Foundation Directory describes characteristics of each of the publications of the Foundation Center, not all of which are subscribed to by the Library. In any case, the preliminary remarks in all the directories should be scanned before using them in order to get the most out of the content.

In general, the information supplied by Foundation Center publications is more complete than that provided by the first-mentioned America's New Foundations but the two supplement one another. A comparison of the New Hampshire sections in each indicates this. Although America's New Foundations is at present the only Taft Group directory in the Baker Library reference collection, others issued by the group are at the Feldberg Business-Engineering Library. These, like the Corporate 500, The Directory of Corporate Philanthropy, deal primarily with corporate giving.

In addition to the Foundation Center publications and America's New Foundations, there are many other, and different, guides issued. The Annual Register of Grant Support, A Directory of Grant Support, whose 1991 edition has 3000 entries and '. . . covers a broad spectrum of interests from academic and scientific research, project development, travel and exchange programs, and publication support to equipment and construction grants, in-service training, and competitive awards and prizes in a variety of fields.' p. xi (Preface). Some guides are specific to particular fields, like the Directory of Grants in the Humanities, and to regions, like the Connecticut Foundation Directory or Massachusetts Grantmakers. Occasionally these directories are duplicated in the other libraries of the Dartmouth system, while some are unique to those collections. The information provided by these privately-published guides is enhanced by a publication of the federal government, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, issued annually by the Office of Management and Budget. To quote from the 1991 edition (p. viii) :

Programs selected for inclusion . . . are defined as any function of a Federal agency that provides assistance or benefits for a State or States, territorial possession, county, city, other political subdivision, grouping, or instrumentality thereof; any domestic profit or nonprofit corporation, institution, or individual, other than an agency of the Federal government. . . . Assistance includes, but is not limited to grants, loans, loan guarantees, scholarships, mortgage loans, insurance, and other types of financial assistance, including cooperative agreements; property, technical assistance, counseling, statistical, and other expert information; and service activities of regulatory agencies.

Finally, to be noted is that some of these guides to foundation grants can be searched online by the Reference Department.