Philanthropy Classification System

Archived Grants Classification System

About the Center’s Archived Grants Classification System

The Center’s Grants Classification System (GCS) was based on the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) and was expanded over the last three decades to include the emerging work we evidenced while capturing and indexing the work of the sector on a global scale. The GCS served as the basis for much of the Center’s work for the last 30 years. In 2012 we began an extensive review of the GCS and how we could expand its content to better capture the work being done in philanthropic sector around the globe and could serve as a tool for the sector to help them classify and organize their own work – the updated Philanthropy Classification System (PCS) <link to Home page> was released in December 2014. Because the GCS is still relevant to the work of Foundation Center until our integration of the PCS is completed in the second quarter of 2015, we will continue to maintain this archive of the GCS as well as related crosswalks between the GCS and PCS.

The facets of the Grants Classification System illuminated the work of grantmakers, recipient organizations and the transactions between those entities and answer the following questions about philanthropy:

  • Who? = Population Served
  • What? = Subject and Organization Type
  • How? = Type of Support
  • Where? = Geographic Area Served (


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