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.

These sample messages are in support of:

  • Simplifying the private foundation excise tax to a flat 1%.

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These sample messages are in support of:

  • Permanently extending the 1) IRA Charitable Rollover, 2) enhanced deduction for contributions of food inventory, and 3) enhanced deduction for contributions of conservation easements;
  • Expanding the IRA Charitable Rollover to allow gifts to donor advised funds;
  • Simplifying the private foundation excise tax to a flat 1%.

Find contact information for your Member(s) of Congress.


As the end of 2015 nears and Congress gears up to take action before the session ends, the philanthropic sector is coming together to make our voice heard.

Partner Opportunities

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The philanthropic community will come together at the 2016 Annual Conference to address some of today's toughest challenges. The Council on Foundations' Annual Conference brings together global leaders from across philanthropy to develop the ideas and strategies that will shape the future.

The Council on Foundations maintains a no-solicitation policy covering all of its conferences, meetings, webinars and other events. In order to provide a distraction-free environment for our members and other attendees, we do not allow solicitation of any kind during any event, including asking for business, soliciting fund management services, distributing grant proposals, or requesting grant funding. Additionally, Council members expect that participation in Council events will not result in future solicitations unless the member specifically invites future contact.

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