The setting for my novel is (a large museum in Washington, DC). I also reference (a large foundation). Everything else is per my imagination. Do you see any issues with using an actual public place or organization for a novel?
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.
If I were you, I’d contact them for permission for two reasons:
1. Avoid any possible legal problems later (using a museum as the setting for the story, or using an organization’s real name may imply an endorsement on their part).
2. They may want to sell your book in their museums (or the foundation may want to sell it to their members or for a fundraiser), especially if you’ve approached them first, prior to publication!
One of our authors, Ron Starr, wrote one of his novels, The Inn, with the blessing of a local inn. Of course, the story takes place in the inn. That inn later bought copies to put in all their rooms, and sold copies at their front desk.