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.

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The Council on Foundations' 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey is now closed. The 2014 Salary Tables will be published this fall and the full report will be released in early 2015.

The survey collects information on benefits policies and practices, as well as compensation data for 35 positions at community, corporate, private, public, and operating foundations. New to this year's report:

In this week's issue, you'll read about:

  • Continue the Conversation - 2014 Annual Conference Recap
  • Sherry Magill Elected Council Board Chair
  • Vote in 2014 Council Awatds Program
  • Monitor Insitute Launches the What's Next for Community Philanthropy Toolkit

Read all this and more with This Week at the Council!

Thank you, Good afternoon. I think we all have a thing or two to learn from amazing students like these. 

I’m grateful to Gwen and the News Literacy Project for an enlightening discussion and for joining us here today. And, thanks to all of you for joining us at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations: Philanthropy Exchange!

Many of you have traveled a long way to be with us. We have leaders from as far away as Anchorage and Australia, from Baton Rouge to Tanzania.

The Council on Foundations today announced the release of the 2013 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations. This year’s report benefited from an increased response rate and will now provide more detailed information and data for the largest foundations.

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee met to markup several important bills focused on the charitable sector. One bill would make the charitable “tax extenders”—including the IRA charitable rollover—permanent law. Another would simplify the private foundation excise tax on investment income to a single rate of 1%. The Council has already expressed support for both of these measures. All five bills were passed out of the Committee and will now face a full House of Representatives vote.

What was your life path that led you to philanthropy?
What do you count as your biggest accomplishment in this field?
Can you describe the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your career?

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

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