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.

Research publications on firearm violence from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

A collection of podcasts and publications from the Center for Court Innovation.

A collection of case studies, strategies and reports from the National League of Cities.

A collection of publications, news articles, and issue papers on gun violence from the Foundation Center.

This collection of resources provides ideas, best practices and lessons learned about what works in violence prevention — for those who would like to be part of the solution

This Toolkit was developed to support cities in developing youth violence prevention plans by building partnerships, taking an inventory of local resources and assets, and designing strategies, based on local data, that address the nature of youth violence and its causes. The goal is to create a multi-year plan that continues to guide the city’s efforts after the implementation phase begins.

This publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explores the history of violence and the reasons why it has become a greater focus for public health in recent decades.

In this video from TEDMED 2013, epidemiologist Gary Slutkin of Cure Violence says the issue has been misdiagnosed, and instead created science-based strategies that aim to stop violence before it erupts.

The Council is actively working to build connections among U.S. and global foundations that are addressing problems and advancing change around the world. For more than 20 years, we have played a key role in facilitating responsible and effective international grantmaking. We also advocate on behalf of foundations to urge the U.S. government to reduce the barriers to cross-border philanthropy and support the development of philanthropy as an essential part of a strengthened global civil society.

What is global philanthropy?

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has an excellent primer of basic tips for disaster giving that can help funders ask the right questions about how they can help.