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.

 

Founders often assume the next generation will think their narratives are ancient history. These stories, however, can powerfully convey a legacy. The Grandparent Legacy Project is an oral history tool that helps grandparents communicate their stories—their legacies—across the generations. Created by 21/64 and the Association of Small Foundations (ASF), this resource excerpts interviews with 15 well-known philanthropic grandparents, a CD to hear their voices, and a workbook.

2008, 80 pages

 

Built on Principle will help family foundations achieve excellence using the Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations as a blueprint for excellence. You’ll learn about effective practices in board governance, grantmaking, succession planning, communication, ethics, accountability, and other foundation functions. Included are sample documents, model practices, and interviews with peers in other family foundations to help you strengthen your foundation’s performance.

2006, 207 pages

 

Family foundations can find opportunities even in times of great change and crisis. Facing Forever will arm you with the tools, stories, and resources to help you prepare for current and future transitions. At the very least, the difficult issues it raises will help get your board talking about and planning for highly personal and highly probable possibilities.

2004, 170 pages