About Finnish Foundations

Simple terminology

  • Foundation” is the general term in Finland
  • It is equivalent to the British term “Charitable Trust” and the American terms ”Non-profit foundations” and “Private foundation”
  • Foundations have to be for public benefit only and need to be registered to be able to have the non-profit status and to get the tax benefits
  • Foundations are categorised inofficially according to their operational purpose
    • Operative foundations, for example nursing homes and housing foundations
    • Grant-making foundations
    • Mixture of operations and grant-making

Interesting figures

  • The amout of registered foundations in Finland is c. 2,700.
  • C. 800 of the above are grant-making foundations.
  • The oldest Finnish foundation was established in the 19th century.
  • Balance sheet total for all Finnish foundations is over 20 billion EUR in market value.
  • Median size of the balance sheet total is 1,3 million EUR in market value.
  • 100 largest foundations represent more than 80% of the balance sheet total mentioned above.
  • 62% of foundations’ investment are in stock market, 17% in the interests.

Basic Facts 

  • Most common areas of action are culture, recreation, research and education.
  • New Foundations Act (only available in Finnish and in Swedish) since December 2015, previous Act from 1930’s.
  • Official supervision by Finnish Patents and Registration Office.
  • Newest facts about Finnish foundations supporting research and innovation, see EUFORI-study (2015)
  • Simple taxation summary:
    – Public benefit foundations get tax exemption.
    – Private donations are not tax deductible.

List of Finnish Foundations