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Research for Grantmakers

"Cabot Family Charitable Trust turned to Philanthropy MA for help when trustees were interested in benchmarking administrative costs. Philanthropy MA resource staff was a great help to the Trust in providing research targeted to foundations
our size and scope.”
- Kathy McHugh, Executive Director,
Cabot Family Charitable Trust

Philanthropy Massachusetts can assist Members with a wide range of philanthropic research services. Two of the most frequent research requests are for giving data and compensation and expenditure practices. We are not limited to these two types of requests however, so please feel free to ask us for the information you seek and we’ll do our best to help.

To initiate a RESEARCH REQUEST, please email or call us at 617-426-2606 ext. 132.

Giving data research can take many forms depending on the needs of the requestor. Some examples include:

  • Who are the lead funders of international programs?
  • Who are the lead funders of leadership development programs for girls?
  • Who are the funders active in veterans’ causes?
  • Who is funding in the North Shore communities, and what are they funding?

Compensation and expenditure requests can also take a variety of forms:

  • What is the compensation rate for trustees at foundations with a particular asset and giving level?
  • What is the average compensation for an executive director at a nonprofit youth development organization with a budget of $1M?
  • What is the average compensation for a program officer of a foundation with $1M-2M annual giving?

Example of Giving Data* research request and the results:

Question: “Who are the top funders of disabilities related programs in New Hampshire?”

Grantmaker Name Total Given
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation  
The Commonwealth Fund  
Endowment for Health, Inc.   
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.
3M Foundation
The Wal-Mart Foundation, Inc. 
Lincoln Financial Foundation  
Fidelity Foundation 
Boston Foundation, Inc.
TD Charitable Foundation 
Citizens Charitable Foundation 


In addition, one can dig further into the numbers and find specifics about the recipients and amounts awarded:

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation disabilities giving specifics (this is a partial list):

Granite State Independent Living Foundation



Krempels Foundation



Saint Joseph Community Services



Saint Joseph Community Services



Saint Joseph Community Services



Easter Seals New Hampshire




*data from Candid's Foundation Directory Online

Example of a Compensation information request:

Question: What are the admin expenses for Massachusetts-based Foundations with Assets of $25M-30M


Grantmaker Name Total Assets Total Giving Expenses (line 24 on 990)
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 
Foundation X 

Philanthropy Massachusetts subscribes to several key resources that are the “go-to” sources for reliable information about the philanthropic sector:

Foundation Directory Online (FDO) contains data on over 120,000 foundations and hundreds of thousands of grants that have been awarded. It is the go-to resource for understanding the giving landscape.

Guidestar Premium offers access to 990 forms and financial information on tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations. More robust than the basic Guidestar option, it allows for searches by topic and/or geographic area(s), and data can be exported into a spreadsheet format for further analysis.

In addition, we are able to tap into our subscriptions with Chronicle of Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Inside Philanthropy and much more!

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Phone: 617.426.2606
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