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.

As the nation approaches the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, our society remains conflicted on our ability to be united as a people. We find ourselves seeking relief from the divisiveness brought about by several events of the prior year: the civil unrest in many of our communities, the contentious rhetoric associated with the presidential campaign, and the demonstrations of intolerance against the LGBTQ and racial/ethnic communities. Many within our field are working to heal these divisions.

Monday, January 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day), a federal holiday in the U.S. The fact that a federal holiday was designated to commemorate the birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is significant - only two other figures have national holidays in the U.S. honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

In this Week's Edition of Snapshot...

In this Week's Edition of Snapshot...

The Council on Foundations announced today that 24 promising philanthropic leaders have been selected to participate in the fourth Career Pathways Program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector's senior executives.

Shortly after the 2016 election, the Council on Foundations announced it had hired veteran nonprofit executive Chris Gates as executive vice president for external affairs, a new position.

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary: Philanthropy's Role in Vibrant Communities

Monday, April 24 - 8:45-10:15 a.m.

The Council’s Public-Philanthropic Partnership Office hosted a webinar for funders only with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children and Families to help foundations understand the regular programs and goals of the agency.