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.

As society continues to struggle with issues such as police-related violence, housing inequalities, health care reform, and threats to national and international security (just to name a few), philanthropy has been challenged to re-evaluate its long held role as convener to potentially adopt a different role in serving the public good.

Beginning in 2014, there has been a spike in the number of refugees arriving in Europe who are fleeing countries in conflict. During 2015, the number of arriving refugees has already more than doubled the amount of refugees who came to Europe in all of 2014. The unprecedented movement of people around the world has created the highest number of displaced persons since World War II. More than half of registered refugees are children and youth. Nearly 400,000 refugees, often arriving on smugglers boats across the Mediterranean Sea, have arrived in Europe in 2015.

This webinar will provide an overview of OMB Uniform Guidance that streamlines and clarifies cost allocation and other rules related to government grants and contracts, while removing some areas of confusion and inconsistency and treating more of a nonprofit’s expenses as direct (reimbursable) costs.

Foundations use a variety of models in managing their investments. But given the pursuit of higher risk-adjusted returns, many foundations are exploring different ways to access the expertise they need and to manage increasingly complex investment portfolios. Join a conversation to explore the results from the Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Investments, which provides data on how private and community foundations are using professional staff, consultants, managers, to oversee their investments.

Bipartisan consensus around criminal justice reform is growing nationally with more foundations increasing their efforts to change the way we think about prisons and public safety. As this issue continues to gain momentum, we ask how can philanthropy take a leadership role in reforming the criminal justice system in America?

Join the Council on Foundations for a Twitter Chat, Wednesday, August 26 from 12-1 PM ET, as we explore these important questions together.

Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director of the TIAA-CREF Institute, shares the Working Group's vision of the Endowments and Financial Services Summit.