Work in Progress: Understanding Illinois Foundation Expenses

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Forum has launched a research project in collaboration with the Foundation Center to document the expense patterns of larger Illinois foundations and explore the characteristics that influence these patterns and contribute to foundations' understanding of best practices. This work will produce a report tentatively titled Understanding Illinois Foundation Expenses and will be distributed free of charge.

The report will include:

  • A “primer” in question-and-answer format that highlights the principal characteristics influencing foundation expenses based on prior research conducted by the Foundation Center.
  • A brief analysis of the expense composition and ratios of Illinois independent and family foundations based on a 2008-10 expenses data set and comparing these findings with all U.S. independent and family foundations in the set for the same period.

In addition, some foundations will be asked to participate in brief interviews to illuminate the many contexts that surround administrative expense decisions and practices.

If you have questions about this research project, please contact Carol Carter, Allstate Foundation Philanthropy Fellow, at; or Robin Berkson, Senior Vice President, at

~Carol Carter, Allstate Foundation Philanthropy Fellow, Donors Forum