Grants for foundations are more difficult to obtain than grants for community non-profits. Almost by definition, foundations are initially funded through endowments or large donations or bequests, and the funds they pass on to smaller charities come from investing the original “seed money” and using the resulting gains as funding.
In order to be considered for grants, the foundation almost always has to be a 501(c)(3). There are other types of foundations, but they cannot offer donors or grantors tax incentives for donations. This means that most traditional sources of grant funding will not consider their applications.
If the foundation is eligible for a foundation grant, particularly from a government entity, it is because some portion of their mission coincides with a specified area that fits within a government program. Grants for foundations generally require a higher level of expertise from the grant writer, but the sums awarded are often correspondingly higher as well.
As an example, foundations that offer funding for low-income housing may be able to take advantage of grants for foundations that fall under the direction of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These are normally found in the form of large blocks of funding originally given to states, and then offered to 501(c)(3) organizations through a state agency.
Although foundations often do not support other foundations, there are may be some opportunity for small foundations to apply to larger ones for a foundation grant. This is particularly true if your foundation is community-based.
Some corporations form foundations for the purpose of supporting the communities in which they do business, and can be a source of grants for foundations that are community-based.
Wealthy philanthropists also have foundations that may support smaller foundations. One example would be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This large foundation offers funding to organizations that support their vision, and are a source of foundation grants as well.