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.

Previewing the UN General Assembly: A global community of actors

The world faces pressing challenges that require global responses – the climate crisis, entrenched inequality, migration, and more. But with international cooperation increasingly at risk, actions taken at the local level are ever more vital. 

The upcoming high-level week of the UN General Assembly will put these issues front and center on the international agenda and mobilize action on the challenges that matter to Americans and to people around the world.

After working in the philanthropic field for the past 10 years, the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program gave me the opportunity—and frankly the time—to seriously consider being an executive leader in the sector. It’s not something I could always see for myself.

I am happy to say I can see it clearly now.

Disaster Overview

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas on Sunday, September 1 and was the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the Atlantic. Although it decreased in strength as it made its way toward the U.S. Atlantic Coast, it made a total of five landfalls -- three in Bahamas, a U.S. landfall in North Carolina and a final one in Canada. This page will be regularly updated with more resources and information on any funds established to support disaster response and recovery. 

An overview of charitable giving in India by Charities Aid Foundation.

2017 CCSF Report Cover

The CCSF report is the field’s most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance policies and practices. The 2018 CCSF studies more than 230 private and community foundations that represent over $89.3 billion in assets. Topics covered include:

We’re only a month away from the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) – and the world still has significant work to do if we are to meet the development thresholds set in the SDGs.

It is an unfortunate reality of our times that all too often foundations must respond to mass casualty events in their communities. There are immediate questions that need to be addressed and an ongoing crisis to manage if your foundation is going to raise and deploy philanthropic capital in support of the victims, their families or the impacted community.

Because these incidents occur at random:

Philanthropy has responded generously to a range of extreme natural events over the past few years, from wildfires to earthquakes to floods to hurricanes and to heatwaves. Recent extreme natural events have exposed the vulnerability of marginalized communities – especially low-income communities and communities of color – in preparing for and responding to disasters. However, we have largely ignored the underlying mechanisms that contribute to racial, gender, and wealth inequality long after a disaster.