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:

Storytelling is a powerful way to broadly engage a community and hear from voices that often go unheard. Hear how storytelling has brought residents together, bridged long-standing divides, and ultimately helped community foundations make positive, lasting, and meaningful impact.

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Today, the Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the 2016 HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. HUD and the Council are seeking nominations from charitable foundations working with the public sector to improve the neighborhoods and the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Hatch's Tax Reform Plan Could Impact Nonprofits;
  • First Ways & Means Hearing of the Year Rescheduled;
  • Contributing Trustee Compensation to a DAF;
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Read all this and more, online now!

Foundations and Systemic Global Challenges

The Council on Foundations and European Foundation Centre will co-host a meeting on Saturday, April 9 in Washington DC, as a globally-focused pre-conference to the 2016 Council on Foundations Annual Conference. This day-long event will bring together key leaders of US and European foundations working internationally and on global issues to discuss complex systemic challenges Foundations are tackling, including climate change and migration. Taking a 15-20 year perspective, we will encourage foundation leaders to:

The Council on Foundations has named Hadar Susskind its Vice President of Public Policy, a new position intended to advance the Council’s public policy work on behalf of its members. Hadar joins the Council’s nationally recognized Public Policy and Legal Affairs team led by Sue Santa.

Also viewable on LinkedIn Pulse.

Recently, I saw the power of what happens when you put a few dozen foundation CEOs in a room together to discuss the future. They generate as many questions for each other as answers, and, as the head of the Council on Foundations, I’d say that’s a great thing for the communities philanthropy serves. After all, learning and leading together is how lasting solutions are made.