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.

When my grandparents, Sam and Helen Walton, set the course for our family’s philanthropic vision in the late 1980s, they set out to make lasting change by empowering individuals. My grandfather often said there is no limit to what can be accomplished when people are given opportunity and incentive, and my grandmother reinforced that giving back was the most important undertaking our family could do together.

Networking Events

Saturday, April 9

All conference attendees are welcome to attend these preconference events.

Networking Reception for Community Foundations featuring The Harwood Institute

5:15-6:15 p.m. — Georgetown, Concourse Level

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

Members of the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge and the Veterans Philanthropy Exchange will gather for  learning and sharing. Any funders supporting veterans and military families are encouraged to join this learning exchange.

Join the Congressional Philanthropy Caucuses, staff, the Council on Foundations, and valued partners for a reception on Thursday, April 14 during Philanthropy Week in Washington 2016. This reception  will celebrate and lift up the critical role of philanthropy in communities and the importance of engaging philanthropy as a stakeholder in policy discussions.

Advancing Rural Communities' Economic Success Agenda

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Registration and Overview
  • Stephanie Powers, Senior Director for Policy and Partnerships, Council on Foundations
  • Janet Topolsky, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

9:30-10:15 a.m.

This is reprinted from an original post on Washington Monthly.

To view the “Successes of Philanthropy” series, kindly visit Washington Monthly.

Leaders from 42 foundations announced today that they have “banned the box” by adopting fair chance hiring policies or ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on applications for employment with their foundations. They also issued a challenge to all U.S. philanthropic institutions to follow suit and eliminate barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • This Week in Tax Reform...;
  • Congress Grows More Skeptical of Universities;
  • FASB Seeks Foundation Input;
  • Single Portal Filing Project Seeks Information;
  • Accepting Promissory Notes and Other Debt Instruments;
  • Giving Incentives on State Legislative Agendas.

Read all this and more, online now!