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.

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.

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.”