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).

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In this issue:

  • Council President Responds to Critical New York Times Op-Ed
  • Senate Democrats host Council President for Conversation
  • Thune-Wyden Letter on the Charitable Deduction
  • Budget Agreement Reached
  • Tax Policy Happenings
  • IRS Nominee Promises to Investigate Nonprofit Fraud
  • Trending Critique of Nonprofits and Philanthropy

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A B C D E F G I J L M O P Q R S T U

Certain definitions are defined by law.

The Council has actively supported extending and expanding the IRA Charitable Rollover since its inclusion in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). As of December 18, 2015, the IRA Charitable Rollover was passed by Congress and signed into permanent law by the President. 

Upon passage of the bill, Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill remarked:

On November 20, in conjunction with the Charitable Giving Coalition’sProtect Giving Day,” Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a letter in full support of the charitable deduction. This letter is a perfect example of the growing bipartisan support for preserving the full value of the charitable deduction.

A factsheet on disability from the Disability Funders Network.

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