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.

The Council on Foundations today, announced the 24 participants selected for the 2020 Career Pathways cohort, a leadership development program designed to increase the number of diverse candidates in the philanthropic leadership pipeline.

The Council on Foundations today announced the appointment of three philanthropic leaders to its Board of Directors – Brennan Gould, Mae Hong and Peter Laugharn.

Hosted by Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), the webinar will include representatives from the Spanish Association of Foundations, the Council on Foundations and the European Foundation Centre (EFC) to talk about what goes on behind the scenes in the successful strategies to promote an enabling environment for civil society and philanthropy to thrive. 

The webinar will include:

As 2019 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on my first year at the Council on Foundations. I’m proud of the strides we’ve made in forging strong relationships across the sector, moving our policy agenda forward, supporting the professional growth of members and reimagining both our membership model and our vision for the future of the Council.

When I look back on the places, conversations and people that defined this year, there are a few key themes that stand out.

Philanthropic families face a multitude of challenges when giving across borders. From coordinating family strategy to navigating complex tax regimes, global family philanthropy is not a simple feat. However, due to generational change and technological advancements, it’s becoming far more common. A new paper by the Council on Foundations with BNY Mellon and Give2Asia explores key considerations for global families as they seek to achieve their philanthropic goals globally. Join us to hear from the authors of this paper as they highlight the main takeaways from this report.

I’ve just finished a year-long program that aims to bring more diverse senior leadership to the philanthropic sector. My time with Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways program was transformative and will, no doubt, have an impact on my thinking and career trajectory in ways that I can’t yet even imagine. So what’s the problem?

The Council on Foundations and the Daniel and Barbara Chapman Trust today announced Opportunity Fund as the recipient of the 2019 Chapman Prize.

Current as of September 2019 | Download print version (PDF)

This describes the legal framework of nonprofit organizations (also known as non-governmental organizations or NGOs) in Ethiopia, along with translations of legislative provisions relevant for a foundation or advisor undertaking an equivalency determination of a foreign grantee under IRS Revenue Procedure 92-94.

In 2018, the Council on Foundations introduced a series of summits on inclusive economic prosperity. These summits were designed to help foundation leaders better understand the leading role that philanthropy can play in developing inclusive economic prosperity outcomes in local economies.