The 990-PF is the information return U.S. private foundations file with the Internal Revenue Service. This public document provides fiscal data for the foundation, names of trustees and officers, application information, and a complete grants list.
The 990-PF may be the only source where one will find complete grants lists for smaller and mid-sized foundations. Larger foundations often issue annual reports, which provide descriptions of the grants awarded during the year for which the return is filed, and many have web sites.
The typical IRS filing deadline for most foundations is four and a half months
after the end of the foundation's fiscal year. It then takes another few months
for the IRS to process and scan the 990-PFs into a digitized format. So, if
a foundation's fiscal year ended on December 31, 2009, its Form 990-PF would,
in all likelihood, become available sometime in the fall of 2010. Of course,
foundations can also request a filing extension from the IRS, which can lead
to further delays in the 990-PF becoming publicly available.