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.

Today, the Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the 2016 HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. HUD and the Council are seeking nominations from charitable foundations working with the public sector to improve the neighborhoods and the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents.

The Council on Foundations has named Hadar Susskind its Vice President of Public Policy, a new position intended to advance the Council’s public policy work on behalf of its members. Hadar joins the Council’s nationally recognized Public Policy and Legal Affairs team led by Sue Santa.

Charitable organizations from around the country applaud Congress for the bipartisan, bicameral passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

The legislation will enhance charitable giving by making three essential tax incentives permanent, demonstrating a commitment from Congress to strengthen the charitable community’s ability to continue to improve American lives and our communities. The charitable sector worked closely with Congress to educate members and their staff about the difference these incentives make.

Today we celebrate a major victory for community foundations and your donors.

Just before noon on December 18, the Senate voted to pass the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act making the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent law.

The bill, which passed the House on December 17, also makes permanent the enhanced deductions for conservation easement and food inventory contributions.

For donors to take advantage of the IRA Charitable Rollover this year, the President must still sign this bill into law.

Friends and Colleagues,

Last December, I spoke of 2014 as a Year of Action, and it was! We began putting into place the programs, services, and staff we knew would provide value to our members. In 2015, we’ve begun to see these foundational investments pay off, and I hope you’ve begun to see how our work strengthens yours.

Moments ago the House of Representatives passed the PATH Act making the IRA Charitable Rollover and two other charitable giving incentives permanent law. Members of the House showed strong bipartisan support for these important measures with a vote of 318 - 109.

Today, the Council on Foundations releases the following statement from its Vice President of Communications Jesse Salazar:

“The Council on Foundations provides leadership opportunities and tools philanthropic organizations need to make a meaningful difference in the life of communities.  As a national organization with a large and diverse membership, the Council is the principal voice for philanthropy. The Council focuses its work on strengthening the field and promoting its value, especially with policymakers and the public.  

Many foundation staff remain mystified (and enamored) with mission investing and the promise it holds for leveraging foundation resources to support their missions. However, it is clear that many foundations do not fully understand the full complement of mission investing strategies and how to implement them effectively.

This white paper provides a review of critical governance issues that foundations must consider to remain in compliance with prevailing and emerging laws and regulations. Readers can expect content focused on Trustee fiduciary responsibilities as relates to duties of care, loyalty, and responsibility.