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.

D5’s Final State of the Work highlights voices of leaders in the field who share their stories of change and progress.  Some are longtime advocates; some are newer enthusiasts. Each of them shares a perspective on what has worked and what challenges remain as they lead their institutions through changes to meet the demands of a new America.

This final report catalogs the stories that tell of human impact and human struggle to create a more equitable philanthropy. Some of these stories are:

The Council on Foundations Job Board

The Council on Foundations Philanthropic Career Center is the home for foundation careers and jobs in the United States and around the world. This job board is the premier recruitment site for foundations looking to hire foundation professionals.

A severe storm system on June 22 dumped torrential rain, tornadoes, high winds, and large hail across West Virginia and Virginia, causing the most deadly flash flood event the U.S.

The Advocacy Toolkit is designed to be a central resource for Council members and others engaged in the philanthropic space to learn about why it is important—now more than ever—for philanthropy to have a voice in policy, how to effectively use advocacy and lobbying to advance your mission, what the most critical or priority “asks” are for the sector at any given time, and

The Council on Foundations wrote to the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  to urge them to prioritize several regulations and guidance documents that impact our members. Each year, the Priority Guidance Plan identifies and prioritizes those tax issues that the agencies should address through regulations or revenue rulings, procedures, notices, and guidance throughout the upcoming year.

Corporate tax integration (“corporate integration”) is a tax reform topic that Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been discussing for some time now. Chairman Hatch has indicated his intent to present a corporate integration proposal, but we don't expect to see that revealed until after the November elections.

What is corporate integration?

Corporate integration is a way of addressing the issue of “double taxation” on corporate income. Under our current system, corporate income is taxed at two levels: the level of corporate profits and the level of shareholder dividends.

On April 25, 2016, the Treasury Department officially published final regulations providing nine new examples of permissible program-related investments (PRIs). The new examples were first drafted as foundations came to sense that the existing regulations were too narrow and did not adequately address the full range of investment opportunities available.

More Info: What is a PRI?

Use these resources in your meetings on the Hill and to promote the work back home. Make sure to check back regularly as updates may be released.

Everything you need to know about foundation law in one easy-to-use, regularly updated guide

The Council on Foundations's Compendium of Legal Resources (“Compendium”), is a comprehensive guide to foundation law for the non-lawyer. It is easy to use, self-directed, and regularly updated.