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.

In this issue:

  • Council letter featured in The New York Times
  • Council Announces Philanthropy Week in Washington
  • Budget agreement passed
  • Tax Policy Happenings
  • Thune-Wyden Letter on the Charitable Deduction

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In this issue:

  • Council President Responds to Critical New York Times Op-Ed
  • Senate Democrats host Council President for Conversation
  • Thune-Wyden Letter on the Charitable Deduction
  • Budget Agreement Reached
  • Tax Policy Happenings
  • IRS Nominee Promises to Investigate Nonprofit Fraud
  • Trending Critique of Nonprofits and Philanthropy

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On November 20, in conjunction with the Charitable Giving Coalition’sProtect Giving Day,” Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a letter in full support of the charitable deduction. This letter is a perfect example of the growing bipartisan support for preserving the full value of the charitable deduction.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors.

Six Misconceptions About Family Foundations

In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, the Max and Dave Road Show, Great Op-eds that caught our attention, Agriculture and Housing Agencies Collaborating With Foundations

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In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, More Great Op-Eds Supporting the Charitable Deduction, Over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

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In this issue: Baucus and Hatch Call for "Blank Slate" in Tax Reform, More on Tax Reform, Charitable Deduction, IRS Scrutiny, and Giving USA 2013

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In this issue: Giving USA Report Released, Senate Finance Committee Releases White Paper on Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving, Baucus and Camp Plan Summer Tax Reform Road Show, Continued IRS Scrutiny

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It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.

Silicon Valley has been the workshop of some brilliant entrepreneurs. People like Steve Jobs, William Hewlett, David Packard, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and the founders of Google—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—their amazing work sparked a revolution.

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