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.

In this issue:

  • Registration is Open for 2014 Annual Conference: Philanthropy Exchange
  • #CF100
  • Second Philanthropy Week Webinar Announced
  • The Council visits the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI

Read the entire issue.

Get Prepared for Philanthropy Week in Washington
Wednesday February 19th from 3-4pm EST

As Philanthropy Week quickly approaches we are excited to offer a webinar geared at getting you up-to-speed on the latest happenings in Washington!

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce…

Websites are live, registration is now open, and the hotel block is available for Philanthropy Week in Washington 2014!

Now, more than ever, we must protect and enhance philanthropy in America. Philanthropy has been a pillar of our society from the time of our founders. Let’s continue to educate federal lawmakers on the imperative role of philanthropy before proposals that could alter tax policy and uproot the sector’s ability to advance the public good take hold.

Members can now download the 2012 Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investments for Private Foundations through the Council store. We are making this resource available to our members at no cost (a $750 value), so be sure to get your copy today.

Council on Foundations president and CEO Vikki Spruill and several Council members met with Congressional leaders today to deliver the important message that changes to the charitable tax deduction would diminish its value and have an undeniably negative impact on communities across the United States. Reductions in the charitable tax deduction would result in diminished support for health and human services, fewer nonprofit jobs, a reduction in research and development capacity, less educational opportunity, cuts to art funding, and decreases in economic development.  

The Council on Foundations today announced the first members of its network team, which will facilitate the flow of information and ideas across the philanthropic sector. The network team will connect members around common issues of concern, connect our members to outside resources across sectors, and —if necessary— build new products and services.

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