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.

A new report released today by the Council on Foundations highlights the critical role that U.S. philanthropy plays in helping to realize the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study, “From Global Goals to Local Impact,” outlines in detail how the new global development framework is universally applicable to the work of U.S. foundations, and presents concrete ways in which funders can integrate the SDGs into their domestic grantmaking.

The Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing was released jointly today by the two representative organizations. The study, believed to be the largest of its kind, provides foundations with invaluable insights into how the sector and individual portfolios are being shaped by responsible investing practices, potential hurdles to their adoption, and what the entry points are for those interested in fully engaging these practices in their endowment strategies.

This webinar will provide members with an opportunity to obtain a detailed understanding of the Overtime Rule directly from the Department of Labor. In addition, the Council’s attorneys will explain how the Rule applies to Foundations and answer some prevalent questions that have surfaced.

Speakers Will Include: 

Justin Aiken
Corporate Cousel
Council on Foundations

Healthy relationships are at the core of any foundation's success. One of the most important relationships is that of the CEO and their Trustees. In a successful relationship, board members are more engaged, management is better aligned, and the mission is advanced. 

The Council on Foundations, a member of the Global NPO Coalition on FATF, applauds the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recent update to its counter-terrorism recommendation on NPOs, specifically grantmakers.

This quarter's member update will focus principally on important issues related to foundation financial management and endowment performance. We will look in depth at the Council's recent research on endowments and preview our upcoming Endowments and Finance Summit in New York City. We will discuss how members might better understand their own institution's financial management and investment performance in broader context. 

August is here, which means your Members of Congress have ventured outside of the beltway for an extended stay in their districts—otherwise known as your communities.

This is a great opportunity for you to connect with your elected officials, build and strengthen your relationships with them, discuss shared priorities, and share with them the work you do to strengthen your communities.

The 2016 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Survey is now open. This survey and the resultant reports are valuable benchmarking tools designed specifically to collect compensation and benefits data for positions at community, private (family and independent), and public foundations, and other staffed grantmaking entities. This annual survey is one of the most important and effective resources for our members and for the field and we encourage you to participate. The deadline for participation this year is July 15th.

The 2016 HR Summit: Investing in the Talent Pipeline, co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and CHANGE Philanthropy (formerly JAG), is your unique opportunity to learn how to make your foundation — and philanthropy as a whole — more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

During the two day convening you can expect engaging, intimate conversations led by field experts focused on:

On May 18, President Obama and Secretary Perez of the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the publication of a final rule updating the overtime regulations. The Final Rule increases the salary threshold for eligibility of overtime compensation from $455 to $913 per week ($47,476 annually for a full-year worker), and does not include an exemption for nonprofits. This rule will go into effect on December 1, 2016—allowing employers six months to prepare for implementation.