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 week's Washington Snapshot:

This post also appeared as an op-ed in the Huffington Post on July 19, 2016.

Sustainability. Quality education. Poverty reduction. Gender equality.

If this list sounds familiar to individuals working in philanthropy or non-profits in the U.S., it should. Our sector is synonymous with these issues in part because our nation suffers from many of them, despite being the wealthiest country on the planet.

Everyone who works in philanthropy has a different and interesting story of how they “found” the field. For many, it is a story of starting in philanthropy after a long career in another industry. Others tell a different story: you need not wait to become a philanthropist. Around the world, a growing movement of young people is not waiting to be a part of the change made possible by philanthropy. 

How can you do the most good, with limited resources, when facing enormous problems? That question lies at or near the heart of every decision at a foundation. This is true of the grant dollars which support community institutions and provide for social services, and it is true of the endowed dollars which are invested to in order to fund future grantmaking – providing for generations to come and needs unforeseen.

This post originally appeared as an op-ed in The Guardian on July 16, 2016.

There is no doubt that the U.S. is suffering from what feels like the unravelling of social order.

In this issue of Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

  • Delayed Release for Hatch Corporate Integration Plan
  • IRS Publishes Regulations for 501(c)(4)s
  • Israel Passes Controversial New 'NGO Transparency Law'
  • The Legal Team is Available to Answer Members' Questions!
  • North Carolina Moves Toward Performance Assessments for State Programs

Read all this and more, online now.

Last week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas have made more urgent our need for a national civil discussion about longstanding systemic challenges that deeply divide our communities. The Council on Foundations steadfastly denounces the killing of innocent people, no matter their skin color, political position, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. We mourn the lives lost and send our thoughts to their friends and loved ones and to our philanthropic colleagues who serve and lead in the affected communities.

In this Week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Field Signals Support for Preserving DAFs
  • Bill to Restrict Foreign Contributions Introduced in House
  • New Survey Results on Impact of DOL Rules on Nonprofits
  • Trending in Legal Affairs: 'Til DAF Do Us Part, 2.0
  • Happening in the States: New Fiscal Year, Same Old State Fiscal Challenges

Read all this and more, online now.

This webinar will provide members with an opportunity to obtain a detailed understanding of the Overtime Rule directly from the Department of Labor. In addition, the Council’s attorneys will explain how the Rule applies to Foundations and answer some prevalent questions that have surfaced.

Speakers Will Include: 

Justin Aiken
Corporate Cousel
Council on Foundations