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.

Join the Philanthropy Caucus for a social reception to conclude Foundations on the Hill. Network with representatives from a variety of charitable foundations and organizations, lawmakers, and Congressional staff in an event to recognize the role of philanthropy as a unique stakeholder in collective efforts to address some of today's toughest challenges.

Join us to better understand how President Trump's Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, may impact your foundation's work domestically and globally.

Join us as Suzanne Friday, Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Council on Foundation presents "The Private Foundation Minimum Distribution Requirement: The Ins and Outs of Section 4942."

This webinar is the first in a new quarterly series called, “Lunch with Legal Counsel” designed purposely for our private foundation members to help you navigate the rules and effects of private foundation classifications, which includes:

Join President and CEO Vikki Spruill for the first Council Member Update of 2017. Learn why this is such a critical time for philanthropy — and what the Council has planned in the year ahead to help strengthen the field.

The Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today launched the 2017 HUD Secretary’s Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The Council and HUD are seeking nominations from charitable foundations working with the public sector to improve the neighborhoods and quality of life for low- and moderate-income Americans.

There are significant challenges facing Minnesota’s communities, including racial inequality in education, economic opportunities and health outcomes. In Minnesota, members of the philanthropic community work in a variety of innovative and collaborative ways to address these challenges and create a sustainable future.

The Council on Foundations announced today that 24 promising philanthropic leaders have been selected to participate in the fourth Career Pathways Program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector's senior executives.

Shortly after the 2016 election, the Council on Foundations announced it had hired veteran nonprofit executive Chris Gates as executive vice president for external affairs, a new position.

The Council’s Public-Philanthropic Partnership Office hosted a webinar for funders only with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children and Families to help foundations understand the regular programs and goals of the agency. 

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 24, 2016 - January 2, 2017. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please dial the membership line directly at 703-879-0645 or email Membership at membership@cof.org.