Family Foundations

The Council on Foundations defines a family foundation as one whose funds are derived from members of a single family, though this is not a legal term and has no precise definition. The Council on Foundations suggests that family foundations have at least one family member serving as an officer or board member of the foundation and, as the donor, that individual (or a relative) must play a significant role in governing and/or managing the foundation. Most family foundations are run by family members who serve as trustees or directors on a voluntary basis. In many cases, second- and third-generation descendants of the original donors manage the foundation.

Family foundations make up over half of all private (family, corporate, independent, and operating) foundations, or 40,456 out of approximately 73,764 foundations (Foundation Center, 2011). Family foundations make up approximately one-third of the Council’s membership.

Family foundations range in asset size from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 billion. The holdings of family foundations total approximately $294 billion, or about 44 percent of all foundation holdings of $662 billion. Despite this, three out of five family foundations hold assets of less than $1 million. Family foundations gave away approximately $21.3 billion in grants in 2011 (The Foundation Center, 2011).

Below is everything on our site for family foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill sat down with Philanthropy Hour’s Greg Cherry for an intimate conversation about the impact and value of American philanthropy and the Council on Foundations' role in advancing the common good.

Hear what Vikki considers to be trending in the field, what motivates giving, and some of the exciting work the Council is doing around impact investing and endowments — just stream the 40-minute podcast now.

Join the Philanthropy Caucus for a social reception to conclude Foundations on the Hill. Network with representatives from a variety of charitable foundations and organizations, lawmakers, and Congressional staff in an event to recognize the role of philanthropy as a unique stakeholder in collective efforts to address some of today's toughest challenges.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Mnuchin confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Bishop names to Ways & Means, Trump Administration working on a tax overhaul plan, Congress aims to keep tax reform train on track
  • IRS seeks to understand how the regulatory ban will impact its work
  • Council Hosts Collaborative Meeting with Federal Agencies and Philanthropic Stakeholders
  • U.S. nonprofits working abroad face financial difficulties, according to a new study

Join us to better understand how President Trump's Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, may impact your foundation's work domestically and globally.

Join us as Suzanne Friday, Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Council on Foundation presents "The Private Foundation Minimum Distribution Requirement: The Ins and Outs of Section 4942."

This webinar is the first in a new quarterly series called, “Lunch with Legal Counsel” designed purposely for our private foundation members to help you navigate the rules and effects of private foundation classifications, which includes:

Over the past several months, Council staff have held conversations with foundation leaders who are grappling with how to understand philanthropy’s role as the new Administration challenges the way our country has traditionally operated. The pace with which significant changes are proposed and executed is making it difficult for even the best strategic jugglers to know how, if, or when to react. Most will admit that these are unusual times. Some describe what’s happening as a shock to the system, sending waves of confusion through organizations and around the globe.

Join President and CEO Vikki Spruill for the first Council Member Update of 2017. Learn why this is such a critical time for philanthropy — and what the Council has planned in the year ahead to help strengthen the field.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Council staff meets with Chairman Brady, there is a new member of Ways and Means, and tax bills are not in short supply
  • The Council sends a letter to Congress about the “Johnson Amendment”
  • A number of the President’s Cabinet Nominees have been confirmed
  • The United Nations faces a possibility of decreased funding from the U.S.
  • In the States: State-Level Opposition to Attacks on Foundation and Nonprofit Nonpartisanship

On January 27, President Trump issued an Executive Order on "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements." Since then, there have been protests in cities and airports around the nation, there have been statements from elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and there has been a great deal of discussion via social media.

On January 30, the Council hosted a conference call on President Trump's executive order, its legal underpinnings and challenges, and its impact on foundations and grantees.