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FOUNDATION CENTER, 1922-2004

Size: 65 cu. ft./173 reels of 35mm microfilm

Contents: The collection includes program files, correspondence, reports, manuscripts, minutes, Congressional tax reformation, audio/video tapes and 6 boxes of books and other material that was kept and not filmed.

Arrangement: The records are divided into three series:
  1. Series 1, Administrative Files, 1922-2004
  2. Series 2, Programs and Projects Files, 1924-1999
  3. Series 3, Non-Related Foundation Center Files, 1947-1990
Photograph Collection: Yes

Organizational History: The Foundation Center was created in 1956 by foundation leaders who felt the need for an independent organization that would collect and make available information about philanthropic and non-profit organizations in the United States and throughout the world. On May 25, 1956, the Foundation Library Center was incorporated as an educational institution under the authority of the New York State Board of Regents. The Center was to gather comprehensive information about foundations, stimulate reporting and accountability where it did not yet exist, and provide "a convenient place where any person may find accurate information about foundations."

F. Emerson Andrews, long-time president of the Russell Sage Foundation, was the first president of the Foundation Center, serving from 1956-1966. He wrote extensively on the topic of philanthropic and non-profit organizations and was a strong advocate for a central information-collecting agency. He was succeeded by Manning M. Pattillo (1967-1970), Thomas R. Buckman (1971-1991), and Sara Engelhardt (1992-present).

The books, reports, and files of the Russell Sage Foundation formed a core collection of the Foundation Library Center. The Center also purchased photographic transcripts of financial and other data on approximately 7,000 organizations, and it solicited complete annual reports files where they existed. The library opened to the public in late 1956. In 1960, the Center published its first Foundation Directory.

In 1968, the Foundation Library Center changed its name to the Foundation Center. For further information see its website, http://foundationcenter.org, and its publication Philanthropy in the 21st Century: The Foundation Center's 50th Anniversary Interviews.



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