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.

In this week's Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

  • Last Chance: Public Policy Preconference
  • Ways and Means Passes Charitable Tax Extenders
  • California Fundraising Law Advances
  • Online Guide to Missouri and Illinois Charities
  • Concern Over Future of New Markets Tax Credit
  • Revision on NTEE Classification System

Read all this and more, online now.

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee met to markup several important bills focused on the charitable sector. One bill would make the charitable “tax extenders”—including the IRA charitable rollover—permanent law. Another would simplify the private foundation excise tax on investment income to a single rate of 1%. The Council has already expressed support for both of these measures. All five bills were passed out of the Committee and will now face a full House of Representatives vote.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors. You can also see his earlier graphic, Six Misconceptions About Family Foundations.

What was your life path that led you to philanthropy?
What do you count as your biggest accomplishment in this field?
Can you describe the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your career?

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

In this week's Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

In this week's edition of Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

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