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.

Partners

The Council would like to thank all of our Partners for their generous support of the 2019 Endowments & Finance Summit.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a summit Partner, contact Tara Cox.

Schedule

This schedule is subject to change.

Since 1980, the Council's Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey has provided the sector with the most comprehensive data on staff composition and compensation in the U.S. Grantmakers rely on this annual report to plan budgets, benchmark personnel policies and practices, determine salary levels for new and existing staff, and more.

Your participation in the GSB survey is needed—the greater the participation, the greater the insights for the sector.

Our Divided Nation Report CoverAmerican democracy faces challenges that raise difficult questions for philanthropy. Has the foundation world done everything it can to shore up democratic values and aspirations, or has it pursued its own ideas of the public good and turned a blind eye to these challenges?

Please note, we will take a break from publishing Washington Snapshot while Congress is on recess from April 15-26, as well as during the week of the Leading Together 2019 Conference. Our next edition is scheduled for May 9. However, if any important executive or regulatory developments occur, we will send an update.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

Interested in the Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report? Join Council staff for a demonstration of the survey process and learn how you can participate in this important resource for the field.

Grantmaking tends to be a pretty virtuous endeavor. However, given the complexity of the process and endless details and data, it’s easy to fall prey to one of the many “deadly sins of grantmaking”. In this interactive session, we’ll highlight some common “sins” and how to avoid them. We’ll share best practices gained from 20 years of experience working with the world’s most generous and sophisticated grantmakers.

In January, we kicked off our work to Reimagine Council Membership, and since then, we’ve heard from more than 450 foundations via an open survey, an external task force, and a series of focus groups with resigned and current members of the Council.  

What do you do when you have a difficult and complex problem? If you’re like me, you start by trying to understand it. You think the problem through from all angles, looking at the data, talking to people in your community. You study the problem, inside out.