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Foundations & Grants

The Alvin Sherman Library serves as a Funding Information Network Partner of Candid (formerly The Foundation Center) and provides a wide range of services to help those involved in preparing grants and soliciting funds from foundations.

990-PF Forms

The IRS Form 990 filed by most nonprofit organizations and Form 990-PF filed by all private foundations is public record.

Current 990s are available from Candid (formerly Foundation Center) website. To access, use their Foundation Finder (free of charge). Type in the name of the foundation you are searching and if the current 990 is available there will be a link in the line IRS Filing. Click on PDF and a PDF document or image file will open. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader running on your computer to access these files. Get it on the web from Adobe for free.

The Foundations and Grants Collection at the Alvin Sherman Library (ASL) includes a set of private foundation information returns for Florida. CD ROM's covering 1998-1999 are available in the ASL. Florida 990-PFs from 1991 to 1997 are available only on microfiche. Some 1998 990s are also available on microfiche. Users can view these on microfiche machines in the ASL and print off paper copies at a nominal charge.

A complete set of U.S. foundation returns can be found at the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Candid (formerly Foundation Center). Foundation returns for the Southeast are housed at the Atlanta Center. Ask a reference librarian for more information about obtaining 990s that are not in the Sherman Library's Foundation and Grants Collection.

990-PFs can be obtained directly from the IRS by written request only. You can use Form 4506-A (or call the IRS (800) 829-3676 to order a copy of the form). Or you can write a letter stating the full name of the organization, its Employer Identification Number (EIN), which appears in all Candid (formerly Foundation Center) directories and which is also available in Foundation Finder on Candid's website, its address with city, state and zip code, and the years needed.

Mail or fax your request to the IRS at:

Internal Revenue Service
Ogden Service Center
P.0. Box 9941
Mail Stop 6734
Ogden, UT 84409
Fax: 801-775-6671

The IRS usually takes four to six weeks to respond, and will bill you for all charges. Costs will vary depending upon the number of pages involved. Form 990-PF is also available on aperture cards (microfiche) for a fee. The number of pages or cards varies according to the number of attachments to the return. To comply with federal law, a public charity or private foundation is required to provide copies of it 990-PFs to anyone who requests them. They may charge a reasonable charge to cover copying and mailing. Current mailing addresses for all private foundations are included in Candid's (formerly Foundation Center) Foundation Finder.

In most states, private foundations are required to file a copy of their 990-PF with the attorney general or charities registration office. The IRS provides links to official webpages for state agencies working with nonprofits. You will also find a list of these offices in the Annual Survey of State Laws Regulating Charitable Solicitations published in Giving USA Update, New York: American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel. (Main Library Reference: HV89 .G5) or in Appendix B of Foundation Fundamentals (Main Library Grants Reference HV41.9.U5 N37).

Florida law requires most organizations soliciting contributions in the state to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. To help consumers the Department has produced a Gift Givers' Guide. This keyword searchable guide lists those organizations that were registered with the Department. A number of foundations and non-profit organizations are included. Where available, the amount spent by the organization during its last fiscal year for administration, fund raising and program services is given. For more information you can also write to:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Consumer Services
2005 Apalachee Parkway
Rhodes Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-6500

Consumer Services hotline:
· 1-800-435-7352 (Florida only)
· 1-800-352-9832 (Spanish)
· Out of Florida: (850) 488-2221
Fax: (850) 487-4177

More information on 990-PFs can also be found on the following websites:

  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Guidestar, the web site for Philanthropic Research, Inc. (PRI) uses data from the 990-PF to provide financial information about nonprofit organizations on its website. Posting Form 990 images on the GuideStar website is an ongoing process. If a Form 990 image is available for your selected charity, you will see a "Form 990" button on the left side of its GuideStar Page.
  • The Quality 990 website links to a number of projects and activities to improve the quality of IRS Form 990 reporting by nonprofit organizations and includes a link to scanned images of Forms 990 (when available) on the Internet through a joint effort of the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS, at the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy) and GuideStar (see above).

In May 1997, the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) University Library became the repository for the Candid (formerly Foundation Center) Historical Foundation Collection, consisting of records gathered since its creation in 1956. It has 990-PFs dating from the late 1960's donated by Candid (formerly Foundation Center). This is the best resource for historical information on a private foundation. Potential researchers should contact Brenda Burk at the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives at (317) 274-0464 or email at for more information.


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Sarah Cisse
Alvin Sherman Library