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.

This guide is designed to help foundations consider how more diverse and inclusive practices might advance their mission by making their work more effective and more reflective of communities served. By highlighting 10 ways family foundations can approach diversity, this guide seeks to spark ideas and launch further dialogue.

Sample form that might be used by the Board to evaluate the Chief Executive. This sample should be customized to the particular culture and purpose of the agency by modifying the performance criteria as appropriate for the organization, inserting those criteria, and conducting the evaluation using the updated criteria.

This is a sample Board of Directors election and retention policy.

Community foundations have proven themselves to be cornerstones of support to the community, especially in times of need and disaster.  When emergencies or disasters strike, the Foundation must be well-prepared to quickly and effectively help itself in order to be able to help others.

This plan outlines the organization’s strategy for responding to emergency or disaster, provides information essential to continuity of critical business functions, and identifies the resources needed to:

This document is written for those tasked with the development, maintenance, and implementation of a state disaster recovery plan. It is intended to serve as an evaluative guidebook from which users can draw from widely accepted steps derived from planning processes and informative best practices adopted in other states. The Guide also includes a series of questions following each major section of the document that are posed to the reader in order to encourage reflection and an assessment of current activities followed by actions targeting identified issues.

Four stories of how philanthropy responded to national disasters. In each case, organized, strategic giving focused on long-term solutions to the challenges a community faced in disaster.

Moved by widely publicized human suffering and increased disaster aid requests, foundations and corporations are becoming more active in the disaster relief field. Grantmakers have a distinct role to play in disasters because of their ongoing relations with grantees, long-term perspective, flexibility and convening capacity.