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).

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An article recently published in Research & Development shared how  researchers are using social media to draw attention to their research.  Discussing their work with reporters and sharing on social media seemed to increase the likelihood that one’s research is cited, thereby increasing their work’s impact.  With that being said, how is your organization drumming up interest with social media?  Are you using it simply as an awareness tool or are you active

This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives failed to advance the Supporting America's Charities Act (H.R. 5806), a milestone bill that would have widely benefited philanthropy and charitable organizations across the country. The vote broke down along party lines, with 275 Members voting for the bill and 149 Democrats voting "no" on the grounds that the provisions are not offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

Joining Forces Impact Pledge organizers announced five new pledges to the Philanthropy Joining Forces Impact Pledge at an event at Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum last week. With the new commitments, a total of 35 participants have pledged more than $200 million over the next five years to support veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life. The Blue Shield of California Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and Bob Woodruff Foundation hosted the event in conjunction with the White House Joining Forces initiative.

As a nation we cherish the value of service. Few among us take this spirit to heart more than our men and women in uniform. Coming from all walks of life, they join forces to safeguard our country.

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