A foundation is a kind of company set up to carry out charity or research work. A foundation is usually endowed, which means it is given a large sum of money to do its work. Examples of foundations include the Rockefeller Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation. The Rockefeller family made their money from banking and oil and their family foundation is endowed with a very great sum of money. The people running the foundation think of ways to use the money to help charities, the arts, or whatever they like.
Another example is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates made a fortune from Microsoft. He and his wife now spend nearly all their time giving away the money he has made. They give it to projects like education in the United States and treating AIDS in Third World countries.
Media related to Foundations (organizations) at Wikimedia Commons