Foundation Operations and Management Report | Exponent Philanthropy

Foundation Operations and Management Report

This resource – the only one of its kind for foundations operating with few or no staff – offers key industry benchmarks, along with data on the evolution of lean foundations.

Based on our annual survey of foundation members, this report offers critical insight into the grantmaking, operations, and management of foundations with few or no staff. It also highlights the practices of our expansive philanthropic leadership network, including:

  • How the diversity of a foundation board affects its views on racial equity
  • Changes in staff compensation
  • The top challenges foundations face
  • How foundations assess their impact
  • The influence of mission investing on returns

Nonmembers can download the Executive Summary for free.

Exponent Philanthropy 

Number of Pages

Member Price
Nonmember Price
Electronic Download
Member Price
Nonmember Price

What’s in the Report

Equity and Inclusion Practices
  • The relevance of racial equity to the foundation’s mission
  • Institutional equity practices
  • Community-centric equity practices
  • Equity practices to support disability inclusion
  • How lean funders are collecting and disaggregating data
Staff, Compensation, Benefits
  • Staff composition, including staff size, role and demographics
  • Family participation on staff
  • Staff compensation
  • The types of benefits foundations provide and the amount foundations spend on benefits
  • The use of outside services and consultants
Boards and Governance
  • Board composition and structure
  • Board participation and engagement
  • Board compensation
  • Foundation governance
  • The number of grants awarded
  • Funding by region
  • Grantmaking focus
  • Grants by type
  • Grantmaking impact
  • Investment strategies
  • Mission investing
  • Investment returns
Expanded Appendices

The report also contains expanded appendices with detailed information and data tables on:

  • Staff compensation and practices
  • Board Compensation
  • Operating and Administrative Expenses
  • Additional data on grantmaking including grant dollars awarded
  • Investment returns and management fees

(2023, 102 pages, PDF and Print)