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.

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.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: What’s next for tax reform now following the ACA mishap?
  • Congress aims to avoid government shutdown
  • Administration weighs in as Congress gears up for a spending bill
  • Property Tax Fights Continue in the Courts and Legislatures

This was first published on March 22 in The Hill.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Philanthropic and charitable leaders join the Philanthropy Caucus for a reception
  • Tax Reform Update: House expected to vote on repealing the ACA today, tax reform hangs in the balance
  • Gift substantiation bill reintroduced in the Senate
  • Council, National Council of Nonprofits presidents pen op-ed on nonpartisanship
  • Human Rights Commission Holds Hearing on Threats to Global Civil Society
  • Confirmation Hearings for President’s Supreme Court Pick Begin

Excited, relieved, eager, anxious—those were some of the feelings I experienced when I found out I was selected as an Atlas Corps Fellow to serve at the Council on Foundations.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Meet our team!
  • Tax Reform Update: ACA repeal faces obstacle following the release of a CBO report
  • East coast snow storm prompts a bipartisan road trip from Texas to D.C.
  • The President’s budget is released
  • President Trump issues new executive order
  • In the States: More states consider minimum wage hikes, when good tax checkoffs get a bad rap
  • Opinion: How Congress can spur giving

This post also appeared on SDG Philanthropy Platform's blog on March 14, 2017.

What do Mexico, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the U.S. have in common, when it comes to helping implement the Sustainable Development Goals? In all four countries, philanthropy associations are working with local networks of foundations to catalyze local multi-sector collaboration around the SDGs.

As part of its advocacy work, the Council may weigh in on, or participate in, important legal cases when significant issues arise that will impact our members and the field. The Council’s participation is often as Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) whereby the Council, although not a party to the litigation, authors or co-authors a legal brief to inform the Court of its position on an issue and to assist the Court in making a decision in the case.