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.

At the White House last week, foundation executives, including the Council’s President and CEO Vikki Spruill, met with senior Administration officials for a roundtable on the future of impact investing. A complement to charitable giving and foundation grantmaking, impact investing offers a powerful opportunity to provide cash, loans, or equity capital to an organization, fund, or company that intends to generate measurable social or environmental impacts, alongside financial returns.

In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

When Jessica David was wondering how to support her new hire, who was tasked with telling her foundation’s story online, she turned to her peers for advice.

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In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

  • Senate Tax Reform Hearings
  • Lost Lois Lerner E-mails
  • Social Impact Bond Act Introduced in House
  • NOTICE Act Introduced in Senate
  • Political Activity Rules Could be Expanded, Commissioner Says
  • 2013 Giving USA Numbers Released
  • Form 990 Data Availability
  • Can Philanthropy "Fix" Democracy?

Read it online now!

How can we engage older residents while tapping their expertise? In 2006, The New York Community Trust responded to an invitation from Atlantic Philanthropies offering challenge to get people over 60 involved as they improve life for everyone in their communities. Atlantic’s effort, called the Community Experience Partnership, used this tagline: “in the 60s they changed the world, in their 60s they might do it again.”

At the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., some funders were expressing a move toward a new way of doing business with their grantees. Accountability has long been a theme in grantmaking. It has traditionally been top-down – foundations being held accountable to the people whose money they are spending and grantees being held accountable to the foundations.

In this week's issue, you'll read about:

  • Continue the Conversation - 2014 Annual Conference Recap
  • Sherry Magill Elected Council Board Chair
  • Vote in 2014 Council Awatds Program
  • Monitor Insitute Launches the What's Next for Community Philanthropy Toolkit

Read all this and more with This Week at the Council!

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