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.

This post originally appeared in the Philanthropy Journal on September 26, 2016.

There’s little doubt that impact investing has generated a lot of excitement, but has it translated into action? The Council on Foundations and Commonfund Institute conducted a recent survey to ask foundations about their understanding, implementation, and perceptions of four “responsible investing” strategies:

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

Here’s a story—a hypothetical one—what if Mike and Carol Brady established a foundation for their philanthropic giving?  As of late, Legal Affairs has seen an increase in inquiries both relating to and from family foundations. As such, we thought it would be ‘groovy’ to highlight some frequently asked questions, while paying homage to our favorite 70s TV family.

We are pleased to announce the release of the Council’s 2016 Salary Tables. This year’s tables include salary data from nearly 10,000 full-time positions in foundations and corporate giving programs (representing over $1 billion in total salaries).

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

- Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development -

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

- Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies -

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

This member update focused principally on important issues related to foundation financial management and endowment performance.

Goal 15: Life on Land

- Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degredation and halt biodiversity loss -

Goal 14: Life Below Water

- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources -

Goal 14: Life Below Water