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.

Over the past several months, Council staff have held conversations with foundation leaders who are grappling with how to understand philanthropy’s role as the new Administration challenges the way our country has traditionally operated. The pace with which significant changes are proposed and executed is making it difficult for even the best strategic jugglers to know how, if, or when to react. Most will admit that these are unusual times. Some describe what’s happening as a shock to the system, sending waves of confusion through organizations and around the globe.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Council staff meets with Chairman Brady, there is a new member of Ways and Means, and tax bills are not in short supply
  • The Council sends a letter to Congress about the “Johnson Amendment”
  • A number of the President’s Cabinet Nominees have been confirmed
  • The United Nations faces a possibility of decreased funding from the U.S.
  • In the States: State-Level Opposition to Attacks on Foundation and Nonprofit Nonpartisanship
Basic Rights and Rules for Foundations working with Non-US Citizens

Disclaimer: The information in this message and any attachments is being provided for informational purposes only and not as part of an attorney-client relationship. The information is not a substitute for expert legal, tax,or other professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances and may not be relied upon to avoid any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.

Last Updated: February 6, 2017

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

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

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.

Last October, I received an email about an HR nonprofit diversity conference in San Francisco. I forwarded the email to our HR director. I wondered what cool organization had sponsored this event? While surfing around the website of that cool organization, CoF, I spotted the page for the Career Pathways program. My heart beat a little faster. As a founding member of my foundation’s diversity committee and someone who spends a great deal of time brainstorming ways to develop a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), I was doubled over with excitement.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

  • Congress Rolls Out Ambitious 200-Day Plan
  • President Trump Instates Regulatory Freeze
  • International NGOs Face New Restrictions with U.S. Grant Dollars
  • In the States: State of the State Addresses 2017

Did you march with the millions of women in cities around the world last week? Or watch President Trump’s inauguration last Friday? Here in D.C., it’s been a crowded and hectic start to 2017.