Generally speaking a foundation is a philanthropic non-profit organization, set up either by individuals or institutions, with the purpose of distributing grants to worthy causes, similar to charitable trusts or to maintain a facility or preserve some heritage. Sometimes they give out money and some foundations seek charitable donations to support their purposes.
In civil law jurisdictions the foundation finds its source in institutions of medieval times when a patron would establish a foundation to endow a monastery or other religious institution in perpetuity. The foundation has a distinct patrimony independent of its founder[?] and if it is not a moral person[?] it is considered to be a social trust[?].
List of a few North American Foundations
Published in 1951, it is a collection of stories originally published in magazines.
Remember that Wikipedia contains spoilers.
The novel, written as small stories and then joined together, is divided into five parts:
In the first part, we are introduced to Hari Seldon and all the Galactic Empire story. Gaal Dornick[?] comes to Trantor and joins Seldon and his team in his mysterious project: psychohistory. They are harassed by Imperial officials, who believe that Seldon is dangerous for the Empire. After convincing them that psychohistorians are just scientists, the Seldon team is exiled to Terminus[?] to build an Encyclopedia Galactica.
In the second part, fifty years have passed. We are at Terminus ("the Foundation") and meet the first efforts of the encyclopedists to survive their bellicose neigbours. Seldon, dead years ago, helps them out of danger.
In the third part, years later, relationships between the Foundation and nearby systems are based in technology transfer and religion. A bellicose warlord in planet Anacreon tries to take over the Foundation but Seldon's inevitable psychohistory saves the day again, and gives the Foundation a little more power.
In the fourth part, later again, a Foundation priest is killed and a trader is being charged for it, but it is finally proved that he was a spy from another powerful system.
In the final part, trade has become the main link between the Foundation worlds. A trader has been held captive in a hostile planet, and a Foundation agent must use greed to manipulate the locals, so they free him.
The Foundation is still far from the huge power the former Empire had, but it's rapidly growing.
In architecture, the foundation of a building is the portion of its structure that serves to transfer the weight of the building into the ground itself. Most foundations extend underground, and the foundations of large buildings often penetrate the bedrock[?].