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).

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In September 2019 - representatives from government, civil society, and the corporate sector will come together at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City to discuss important global challenges, from hunger and poverty to climate change and natural disasters.

Hundreds of UNGA side-events, will bring together thousands of people, all working in different ways to “leave no one behind” and achieve the SDGs by 2030.

From the June 2019 NGA State Summit on Opportunity Zones. Includes OZ overview, current statues, state administrative offices responsible for OZs, relevant state legislation, and update on federal regulations.

Plenary Sessions

Check back here often for updates.


Opening Plenary — Meeting Obligations in a Time of Financial Volatility and Uncertainty

Thursday, September 19 | 9:15-10:30 a.m.

The United Nations' annual mid-year High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) finished earlier this week. I was in New York to join several events and enjoyed connecting with a broad variety of organizations and people working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, including many Council members. This year’s HLPF focused on “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality for all.”

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.

Amid a complex climate for charitable giving, American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $427.71 billion to U.S. charities in 2018, according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for theYear 2018.