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.

Recent data on giving by Americans signals concerns for US philanthropy. New research on US philanthropy shows lower levels of giving in 2018, even as our economy showed healthy growth overall. Giving USA reports less overall giving in 2018, following four years of steady growth. Specifically, giving by individuals fell by 3.4% to $292.2B. At the same time, foundation giving increased slightly in 2018 to $75.8B.

Concurrent Sessions

Check back here often for updates.

The High-Level Politcal Forum (HLPF) will meet from July 9-18, with a theme of "empoowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".

The set of goals that will be reviewed are Goal 4, Goal 8, Goal 10, Goal 13, Goal 16, and Goal 17.

If you are hosting side-events featuring philanthropy that we should include in our calendar, please send event details to brian.kastner@cof.org so we can promote your event.

How can foundations better anticipate ways in which the world is changing around them? This is a challenge for every organization functioning in what the military has termed a “VUCA world.” The acronym refers to an operating environment characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Change and Ambiguity. For decades now, I have worked with senior business executives to help their organizations spot, anticipate and remain resilient in the face of VUCA challenges.

Members, View Recording

On July 10, 2:00 p.m. ET, the Council hosted a funders-only webinar with the Democracy Funders 2020 Census Subgroup. During this event, we've learned more about the national philanthropy strategy to ensure an accurate count on the 2020 census and understandwhat further resources are needed to execute an effective strategy that insures the hardest to reach are counted.

The alphabet soup of global regulatory acronyms – FARA, FATF, and De-Risking to name a few – can lead to confusion for grantmakers. Join us for an update and discussion for how these regulations affect global grantmakers today. Hear directly from global experts and ask your own questions to understand how these acronyms impact you and/or your grantee partners around the world.

As you know, the Council’s conference, Leading Together 2019, convened April 29-May 1 in Miami. During my opening remarks, I shared early thoughts on how we can all work together in service of the common good.