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.

At the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, we’ve been talking about how to deal with minor successors being named on a fund. We started looking into it after reading a discussion about it on the Philanthropy Exchange. It’s a tricky situation: If your fund adviser is underage, they may not be in a position to correctly advise.

Today is World AIDS Day — a time for people all over the globe to remember those we have lost to HIV and to recommit ourselves to ending the AIDS epidemic once and for all. On this day, the Council on Foundations salutes the many individuals and organizations united in the fight against HIV and working to improve the lives of people living with HIV. The Levi Strauss Foundation is among those organizations working to put an end to the AIDS epidemic.

Hundreds of stories are amplified by the minute during #GivingTuesday. The global and social movement captures the hearts, minds, and spirits of many who look to philanthropy on this day.

On the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday puts the focus back on the giving season by harnessing the potential of social media to bring about positive change in communities and inspire more acts of kindness.

We all knew that November was going to be a tumultuous month (if you hadn't heard, there's an election today). When the polls close and the dust settles, the country could be set on one of a number of starkly different paths. Perhaps because of this uncertainty, President Obama took the opportunity to lift up one of the few truly bipartisan issues by declaring November National Entrepreneurship Month.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

On Tuesday, November 8, Americans will go to the polls to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, 34 Senators, and the entire House of Representatives, as well as hundreds of state and local officials. And while interested parties may urge constituents to get involved and participate in the political process, 501(c)(3) organizations are limited with respect to their ability to get involved in political campaign activity.

As preparation for winter holidays begin earlier and earlier, the Council wants to provide an important resource for your year-end fundraising and grantmaking activities. The IRS provides a wealth of resources on charitable contribution deductions. While I’d enjoy writing details about each of them, I will spare you, and send you to the IRS directly.

Registration is open for our 2017 Annual Conference — Leading Together — in Dallas, Texas, next April 23-26, and we are asking our members to help us build the conference you want to attend. We have a call for sessions open until November 4, and we hope you will take this opportunity to share your ideas, innovative approaches to philanthropy, knowledge, and expertise to help strengthen this year’s programming.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

An inexperienced grants manager was nervous, dreadfully nervous.

One dark evening, a spirited major donor appeared at the community foundation. The donor, wanting to assist with local community improvements, recommended a grant from his donor advised fund (DAF) to the chamber of commerce, a 501(c)(6) non-charitable organization, for a street clean-up initiative.