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.

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Hear what Vikki considers to be trending in the field, what motivates giving, and some of the exciting work the Council is doing around impact investing and endowments — just stream the 40-minute podcast now.

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Basic Rights and Rules for Foundations working with Non-US Citizens

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Last Updated: February 24, 2017

Evaluation and philanthropic learning are essential to driving social change. Here are five trends to look out for in 2017 – and likely beyond:

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February marks the observance of National African American History Month, a commemoration with origins dating back to 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson instituted a week-long celebration to raise awareness of African Americans’ contributions to history. 50 years later, as part of the United States Bicentennial, the week became a month, and today February is celebrated as National African American History Month in the United States and Black History Month in Canada.