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.

The Council on Foundations wrote to the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  to urge them to prioritize several regulations and guidance documents that impact our members. Each year, the Priority Guidance Plan identifies and prioritizes those tax issues that the agencies should address through regulations or revenue rulings, procedures, notices, and guidance throughout the upcoming year.

Corporate tax integration (“corporate integration”) is a tax reform topic that Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been discussing for some time now. Chairman Hatch has indicated his intent to present a corporate integration proposal by the end of June 2016.

What is corporate integration?

Corporate integration is a way of addressing the issue of “double taxation” on corporate income. Under our current system, corporate income is taxed at two levels: the level of corporate profits and the level of shareholder dividends.

Use these resources in your meetings on the Hill and to promote the work back home. Make sure to check back regularly as updates may be released.

Everything you need to know about foundation law in one easy-to-use, regularly updated guide

The Council on Foundations's Compendium of Legal Resources (“Compendium”), is a comprehensive guide to foundation law for the non-lawyer. It is easy to use, self-directed, and regularly updated.

The Council on Foundations partnered with the National Human Services Assembly to provide our members access to the PurchasingPoint® program. PurchasingPoint® is an exclusive discount program for nonprofits that leverages group buying power to access significant savings from your vendors you use every day.

Networking Events

Saturday, April 9

All conference attendees are welcome to attend these preconference events.

Networking Reception for Community Foundations featuring The Harwood Institute

5:15-6:15 p.m. — Georgetown, Concourse Level

Advancing Rural Communities' Economic Success Agenda

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Registration and Overview
  • Stephanie Powers, Senior Director for Policy and Partnerships, Council on Foundations
  • Janet Topolsky, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

9:30-10:15 a.m.

This year Philanthropy Week kicked off with the Council’s Annual Conference and continued through the week with a host of activities. The conference theme—The Future of Community: Identity. Purpose. Place.—provided a timely and resonant backdrop for Philanthropy Week activities.


Tuesday, April 12


8:15 am–11:45 am

Breakfast to be served at 7:45 am