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.

D5’s Final State of the Work highlights voices of leaders in the field who share their stories of change and progress.  Some are longtime advocates; some are newer enthusiasts. Each of them shares a perspective on what has worked and what challenges remain as they lead their institutions through changes to meet the demands of a new America.

This final report catalogs the stories that tell of human impact and human struggle to create a more equitable philanthropy. Some of these stories are:

To support leaders in their efforts to take meaningful action to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their organizations, D5 commissioned JustPartners, Inc. to identify the most effective policies, practices, and programs to advance DEI.

By David A. Levitt

Helpful article published by Adler & Colvin summarizing the key differences between Mission-Related and Program-Related Investments for Private Foundations. The article also lays out many of the necessary legal and regulatory questions when determining if an impact investing strategy is appropriate for a given situation.

This guide, published by Confluence Philanthropy, focuses on how a foundation can leverage its assets in service of its mission by investing cash locally through community-based financing. It reviews the different types of depositories, as well as the steps on how to get started carrying your cash, and also features two foundation case studies.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has an excellent primer of basic tips for disaster giving that can help funders ask the right questions about how they can help.

This study conducted by Forward Change provides a holistic, in-depth picture of the career experiences of 43 philanthropic professionals of color ranging from Program Officers to CEOs working in a diverse array of foundations. The study surfaced a set of potentially common points of entry, career pathways and obstacles of professionals of color in philanthropy, as well as the factors that helped shape those pathways.

Population-focused funds (PFFs) are giving vehicles established by and for members of racial, ethnic, tribal, gender, sexual-orientation, and other identity-based communities to address critical issues within those communities.

This directory contains entries for more than 400 PFFs throughout the United States, serving racial and ethnic groups, women and LGBTQ communities. The Foundation Center sources the data, which is supplemented with data from D5 research.

From The Chicago Community Trust, this white paper challenges all of us with a set of thoughtful recommendations to realize our promise for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our communities, our schools and our workplaces.

From The Chicago Community Trust, this guide is for all nonprofit organizations that share The Chicago Community Trust's commitment to diversity:

From the Center for Effective Philanthropy, most of foundations’ efforts to contribute ‘beyond the money’ has little beneficial impact on grantees. More than Money: Making a Difference with Assistance Beyond the Grant reveals that only when foundation staff provide assistance beyond the grant in one of two ways do grantees report a substantially more positive experience with their funders. Three exemplary foundations are profiled: Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Winter Park Health Foundation, and the Wallace Foundation.