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…

  • 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

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Congress and the administration have yet to reach consensus on an approach to tax reform
  • Government funding is set to expire at the end of this month
  • Private foundations and the charitable deduction—yes, you may lobby!
  • In the States: Congressional action, inaction affecting state policy agendas

Healing Across the Divides (HATD) is a new member of the Council on Foundations. We joined the Council to learn from others facing similar challenges globally and connect with funders to explore issues such as finding ways to better build grantee sustainability.

I am delighted to introduce you to the Council’s private philanthropy newsletter!

This quarterly publication is a way for me to keep in touch, let you know about what’s happening at the Council, and share resources and other information I think will be of particular interest to you and other independent and family foundations.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: What’s next for tax reform now following the ACA mishap?
  • Congress aims to avoid government shutdown
  • Administration weighs in as Congress gears up for a spending bill
  • Property Tax Fights Continue in the Courts and Legislatures

This was first published on March 22 in The Hill.

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.