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 Edition of Snapshot…

  • Philanthropic and charitable leaders join the Philanthropy Caucus for a reception
  • Tax Reform Update: House expected to vote on repealing the ACA today, tax reform hangs in the balance
  • Gift substantiation bill reintroduced in the Senate
  • Council, National Council of Nonprofits presidents pen op-ed on nonpartisanship
  • Human Rights Commission Holds Hearing on Threats to Global Civil Society
  • Confirmation Hearings for President’s Supreme Court Pick Begin

Excited, relieved, eager, anxious—those were some of the feelings I experienced when I found out I was selected as an Atlas Corps Fellow to serve at the Council on Foundations.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Meet our team!
  • Tax Reform Update: ACA repeal faces obstacle following the release of a CBO report
  • East coast snow storm prompts a bipartisan road trip from Texas to D.C.
  • The President’s budget is released
  • President Trump issues new executive order
  • In the States: More states consider minimum wage hikes, when good tax checkoffs get a bad rap
  • Opinion: How Congress can spur giving

This post also appeared on SDG Philanthropy Platform's blog on March 14, 2017.

What do Mexico, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the U.S. have in common, when it comes to helping implement the Sustainable Development Goals? In all four countries, philanthropy associations are working with local networks of foundations to catalyze local multi-sector collaboration around the SDGs.

Do you know what happens when the U.S. sanctions U.S. charities? If you answered no, you wouldn’t be alone. It can lead to funds being frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules requiring that they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Council and other foundation leaders meet with Members of Congress
  • Tax Reform Update: Bill to repeal ACA is introduced, tax reform to follow
  • The Council files amicus briefs in recent legal cases
  • In the States: California Speaker establishes select committee on the nonprofit sector

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated on March 8 of every year, IWD celebrates women around the world and their achievements. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and the International Women’s Day website documents the evolution of this global celebration. At a time when there are many places and situations where women's rights, equality, health, and safety remain marginalized, IWD is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

In April, my tenure as chair of the Council on Foundations’ Board of Directors will end, and I will near completion of my board service, a term bounded by two historic presidential elections and begun when our country experienced an economic collapse rivaled only by the 1929 market crash and the Great Depression that followed.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: President Trump addresses Congress, Secretary Mnuchin speaks on tax reform, Chairman Brady vows to repeal the Johnson Amendment, and the Council and colleagues speak out in defense of nonpartisanship
  • Legislation to invest in “opportunity zones” introduced in House and Senate
  • Ben Carson is confirmed as Housing and Urban Development Secretary
  • President Trump orders agencies to focus on regulatory reform
  • White House budget aims to increase defense spending, cut domestic programs