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.

Council staff are back in D.C. after a whirlwind Annual Conference in Dallas last month, where we were joined by more than 1000 attendees from around the world. You can see conference highlights at cof.org/2017annual. Thank you to all of our global speakers and especially to our global conference sponsors: Walmart Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and CAF America.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Ways and Means Committee holds hearings, Senate gears up for tax reform
  • Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy named
  • Hearing on IRS reform scheduled for tomorrow
  • In the States: state budgets passing but on shaky footing; Mainers seek block grant transparency

Three years ago, I met Charles Story at the Grants Managers Network annual conference in San Diego. He was a featured panelist on a session about Extreme Management — successfully leading teams in constantly changing organizational environments. I was so impressed with his insights that we would start working together the following year, and I soon learned that Charles was also an executive coach with the Council’s Career Pathways (CP) Program. When I heard about the program’s goals and curriculum, I was completely sold, and could hardly wait for its reboot in 2017.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Health care legislation passed the House — so what now for tax reform?
  • Private foundation excise tax simplification bill introduced in House
  • House Set to Hold Hearings on Tax Reform and IRS Reform
  • FBI Director, Census Director Are Out
  • Oklahoma Advocacy Averts a Cap on Charitable Deductions

The 2016 Administrative and Program Expense Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their expenses – charitable administrative, program service, and qualifying distributions – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by grantmaker type, staff size, geographic location, and asset group (note – this report does not examine fees associated with fund administration at community foundations).

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • BREAKING: House holding Johnson Amendment hearing today, President Trump signs EO
  • Tax Reform Update: White House releases tax plan, Congress continues toward health care and tax reform bills
  • Congress averts a government shutdown
  • President Trump’s first 100 days in office
  • Treasury, IRS release notice to submit comments on priority guidance plan
  • Council heads to Dallas for Annual Conference

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Debate continues as charitable issues receive increasing attention
  • Bill seeks to extend charitable contribution carryover for public utilities
  • President signs EO to "buy and hire American"
  • In the States: Constitutional property tax exemption at risk in Louisiana; New Mexico donor disclosure bill vetoed

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Congress may be in recess this week, but tax reform is still the talk of the town
  • Congress Adjourns for Recess Without Clear Strategy on Spending Legislation
  • Gorsuch Swearing In Returns SCOTUS to Full Capacity
  • White House Lifts Hiring Freeze, but Still Looks to Scale Back Agencies
  • In the States: Reining in Red Tape

The 2016 Board Compensation Tables provide foundation board and staff with the tools they need to benchmark their board compensation policies and practices against peers in the field. This report contains data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey and presented by foundation type, asset group, and U.S. Census region.

Members, Download the Tables for Free

Many people want to start foundations, but few start out knowing exactly what sort of organization they are going to create. The purpose of this e-book is to help potential donors understand the many different entities that are commonly referred to as foundations and to provide an understanding of the legal framework necessary to establish a foundation.

This publication is broken into five different parts plus it includes sample Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to get you started.