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.

The fabric of Foundations funding human services forms a rich mosaic with themes as diverse as housing, education, employment, social justice issues, physical and public health.  The thread that interconnects with all of these is the mental health of the individuals and communities who are targets for support and improvement.  It can be a complicated puzzle.

This week, Stan Katz, Benjamin Soskis and Maribel Morey released HistPhil, a new blog that focuses on both “the studying of history and the making of history”. The blog is a result of the co-founders insight that philanthropy as a whole has much to gain from studying its past. The founders hope that the blog will lead to new understanding of how current philanthropic issues can be resolved by studying the past. The organizers hope to bring together both scholars and changemakers in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

While the globalization of markets has dispersed investments around the world, we’ve hatched a plan to bring capital back to our communities in a transparent, coordinated, and collaborative way. I’m excited to announce Canopy, an innovative, member-owned, for-benefit company designed to advance regional investing—at scale.

In this week's Washington Snapshot: 

The Social Impact Exchange exists to build a growth capital marketplace that supports scaling high-impact nonprofits in the U.S.  Funders with shared interests convene in working groups (currently active in health and education) to identify and vet highly effective nonprofit initiatives primed for scale using a thorough due diligence process.  Nonprofits that clear the due diligence process receive 25-30% of their total capital raise from working group members; additional funding is then raised by “syndicating” these investments to a much broader market of regional and local foundations, fa

Amidst all the joyous celebrations of same-sex couples finally able to participate in the legal benefits of marriage; and amidst all the exciting, visible cultural offerings, like the Amazon series, Transparent; there is the continuing drumbeat of LGBTQ stories that have not gained a similar level of visibility.

In 2009, Blue Shield of California Foundation learned of the increasingly high rates and devastating impacts of domestic violence among military families. Given the incredible stress these families had endured after more than a decade at war, the findings were difficult to hear, but not surprising. Thankfully, we were in a position to do more than just listen.

This Memorial Day takes on new significance for the philanthropic sector as we take our commitment to veterans and their families to another level.

Civil Society in America faces the challenge of storytelling. Democracy thrives on the free availability of information and viewpoints. We must guard against hegemony that stifles innovation and protect voices of the marginalized. To do so, we should ensure that everyone's story is told.