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.

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.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors.

Six Misconceptions About Family Foundations

In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, the Max and Dave Road Show, Great Op-eds that caught our attention, Agriculture and Housing Agencies Collaborating With Foundations

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In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, More Great Op-Eds Supporting the Charitable Deduction, Over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

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In this issue: Baucus and Hatch Call for "Blank Slate" in Tax Reform, More on Tax Reform, Charitable Deduction, IRS Scrutiny, and Giving USA 2013

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In this issue: Giving USA Report Released, Senate Finance Committee Releases White Paper on Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving, Baucus and Camp Plan Summer Tax Reform Road Show, Continued IRS Scrutiny

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It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.

Silicon Valley has been the workshop of some brilliant entrepreneurs. People like Steve Jobs, William Hewlett, David Packard, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and the founders of Google—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—their amazing work sparked a revolution.

Blessed are the family foundations graced with harmonious board interaction, for they may be focused on their grantmaking. Running through case studies in preparation for our session at this month’s Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference in San Jose, I am struck by the power of a grantmaking program rooted in community ties, family values, well-researched issue areas, and long-term strategic planning. Free from family governance issues, these grantmaking case studies focus outward on communities, programs, and execution.

Despite having a steady job, a mom in South Carolina, who hopes to help her daughter go to college, cannot afford to pay rent in the city in which she works. A promising entrepreneur in Wisconsin has a great idea to improve his community but cannot get the loan needed to get his business off the ground. All over the country and globe, individuals aspire to live a comfortable life and contribute to their families and communities. Many circumstances contribute to the financial barriers that keep these individuals from achieving their dreams.

What does Jeremy Lin have to do with the future of philanthropy?

When LINsanity comes to philanthropy from The Nathan Cummings Foundation on Vimeo.

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