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.

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.

From Whitehall Road to Chancery Lane, government officials and charity leaders from numerous countries navigated London’s fashion week chaos last month in their most orthopedic shoes and ill-fighting business attire to discuss barriers to international grantmaking. Specifically, they discussed barriers related to terrorist financing, such as due diligence procedures delaying legitimate charitable funding and programs in places like Syria. The Council on Foundations attended this meeting to represent our members’ challenges to making international grants.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

As the October 31 application deadline for our 2017 Career Pathways cohort draws closer, I thought it important to highlight why the Council believes so strongly in the talent expansion program — and what cohort members get from the experience.

The Council on Foundations’ 2016 Endowments and Finance Summit has come and gone, and based on the exceptional turnout and post-event buzz it appears to have been an enormous success. Over 200 foundation leaders, including chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief investment officers, board members, and board investment committee leaders, came together to consider the future of the philanthropic sector and how to strengthen it.

This week, those affected by Hurricane Matthew are very much on our minds here at the Council. On Tuesday, the Council co-hosted a special webinar with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to inform funders about recovery needs, and we have additional disaster philanthropy resources on our website.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • President Obama Highlights First Department of Education Pay-for-Success Projects;
  • State Ballot Measures 2016;
  • Casey Family Program Provides Update on Federal Child Welfare Policy.

Read all this and more, online now.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Bill to Delay Overtime Regulations Passes the House;
  • Bill Introduced to Remove Restrictions on Nonprofits Political Speech;
  • Tax Exempt & Government Entities Division Releases 2017 Work Plan;
  • New Jersey Bill Seeks to Protect Property Tax Exemptions from Third-Party Challenges.

Read all this and more, online now.

In the United States, LGBTQ History Month is celebrated during the month of October. It is an annual observance of LGBTQ history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. LGBTQ History Month was first celebrated in 1994. Among the early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee for LGBT History Month was Council on Foundations Board Member and Arcus Foundation Executive Director, Kevin Jennings.

This post originally appeared in the Philanthropy Journal on September 26, 2016.

There’s little doubt that impact investing has generated a lot of excitement, but has it translated into action? The Council on Foundations and Commonfund Institute conducted a recent survey to ask foundations about their understanding, implementation, and perceptions of four “responsible investing” strategies: