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.

Foundations and Systemic Global Challenges

The Council on Foundations and European Foundation Centre will co-host a meeting on Saturday, April 9 in Washington DC, as a globally-focused pre-conference to the 2016 Council on Foundations Annual Conference. This day-long event will bring together key leaders of US and European foundations working internationally and on global issues to discuss complex systemic challenges Foundations are tackling, including climate change and migration. Taking a 15-20 year perspective, we will encourage foundation leaders to:

Philanthropy holds a unique role in American society. Philanthropic leaders and foundations play a significant role fostering vibrant communities across our country. The Council supports this role and regularly brings foundation leaders together to learn and share from each other.

How do the Sustainable Development Goals relate to domestic challenges in the U.S.?

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

How do the Sustainable Development Goals relate to domestic challenges in the U.S.? 

There are significant challenges facing American communities today, including growing inequality, quality education, access to healthcare, and climate action. In the Bay Area, members of the philanthropic community work in a variety of innovative and collaborative ways to improve quality of life and create sustainable local communities.