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 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations (COF) today announced the winners of the 2017 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Debate continues as charitable issues receive increasing attention
  • Bill seeks to extend charitable contribution carryover for public utilities
  • President signs EO to "buy and hire American"
  • In the States: Constitutional property tax exemption at risk in Louisiana; New Mexico donor disclosure bill vetoed

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Congress may be in recess this week, but tax reform is still the talk of the town
  • Congress Adjourns for Recess Without Clear Strategy on Spending Legislation
  • Gorsuch Swearing In Returns SCOTUS to Full Capacity
  • White House Lifts Hiring Freeze, but Still Looks to Scale Back Agencies
  • In the States: Reining in Red Tape

The 2016 Board Compensation Tables provide foundation board and staff with the tools they need to benchmark their board compensation policies and practices against peers in the field. This report contains data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey and presented by foundation type, asset group, and U.S. Census region.

Members, Download the Tables for Free

Many people want to start foundations, but few start out knowing exactly what sort of organization they are going to create. The purpose of this e-book is to help potential donors understand the many different entities that are commonly referred to as foundations and to provide an understanding of the legal framework necessary to establish a foundation.

This publication is broken into five different parts plus it includes sample Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to get you started.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Congress and the administration have yet to reach consensus on an approach to tax reform
  • Government funding is set to expire at the end of this month
  • Private foundations and the charitable deduction—yes, you may lobby!
  • In the States: Congressional action, inaction affecting state policy agendas

Healing Across the Divides (HATD) is a new member of the Council on Foundations. We joined the Council to learn from others facing similar challenges globally and connect with funders to explore issues such as finding ways to better build grantee sustainability.

The 2017 HR Summit: Achieving Equity in the Workplace, co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and CHANGE Philanthropy, is your unique opportunity to learn how to make your foundation — and philanthropy as a whole — more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

During this convening you can expect engaging, intimate conversations led by field experts focused on:

I am delighted to introduce you to the Council’s private philanthropy newsletter!

This quarterly publication is a way for me to keep in touch, let you know about what’s happening at the Council, and share resources and other information I think will be of particular interest to you and other independent and family foundations.