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.

On Tuesday, November 8, Americans will go to the polls to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, 34 Senators, and the entire House of Representatives, as well as hundreds of state and local officials. And while interested parties may urge constituents to get involved and participate in the political process, 501(c)(3) organizations are limited with respect to their ability to get involved in political campaign activity.

As preparation for winter holidays begin earlier and earlier, the Council wants to provide an important resource for your year-end fundraising and grantmaking activities. The IRS provides a wealth of resources on charitable contribution deductions. While I’d enjoy writing details about each of them, I will spare you, and send you to the IRS directly.

Registration is open for our 2017 Annual Conference — Leading Together — in Dallas, Texas, next April 23-26, and we are asking our members to help us build the conference you want to attend. We have a call for sessions open until November 4, and we hope you will take this opportunity to share your ideas, innovative approaches to philanthropy, knowledge, and expertise to help strengthen this year’s programming.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

An inexperienced grants manager was nervous, dreadfully nervous.

One dark evening, a spirited major donor appeared at the community foundation. The donor, wanting to assist with local community improvements, recommended a grant from his donor advised fund (DAF) to the chamber of commerce, a 501(c)(6) non-charitable organization, for a street clean-up initiative.

After meeting with senior officials at the Department of Treasury, the Council submitted a letter on October 21, 2016 to Elinor Ramey, Attorney Advisor in the Office of Tax Policy regarding private foundations and how they may use donor advised funds (“DAFs”) to further their grantmaking activity. 

From Whitehall Road to Chancery Lane, government officials and charity leaders from numerous countries navigated London’s fashion week chaos last month in their most orthopedic shoes and ill-fighting business attire to discuss barriers to international grantmaking. Specifically, they discussed barriers related to terrorist financing, such as due diligence procedures delaying legitimate charitable funding and programs in places like Syria. The Council on Foundations attended this meeting to represent our members’ challenges to making international grants.

Linking Local Investment to Global Goals 

Event Overview

There are significant challenges facing American communities today, including growing domestic inequality, increased poverty and harmful impacts from climate change. In Florida, members of the philanthropic community work in a variety of innovative and collaborative ways to improve quality of life and create sustainable local communities.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

The Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) urged Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the major party nominees for President of the United States, to support the full preservation of the charitable deduction in a letter the coalition sent to the candidates this week. Along with preserving the charitable deduction, the coalition pressed the candidates to support additional charitable giving incentives.