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.

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.

Networking Events

#COFAnnual is the place to connect with leaders in philanthropy, government, and other sectors — and to create future opportunities for collaboration. While every minute at #COFAnnual is an opportunity to network, these events are tailored for you to socialize and introduce you to new contacts.


Sunday, April 23

New Attendee Welcome Reception

Sunday, April 23 — 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Do you know what happens when the U.S. sanctions U.S. charities? If you answered no, you wouldn’t be alone. It can lead to funds being frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules requiring that they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down.

In this Week’s Edition of Snapshot…

  • Council and other foundation leaders meet with Members of Congress
  • Tax Reform Update: Bill to repeal ACA is introduced, tax reform to follow
  • The Council files amicus briefs in recent legal cases
  • In the States: California Speaker establishes select committee on the nonprofit sector

Good afternoon. Thank you, Tomas, for that warm welcome and introduction. I am honored to join all of you today to continue the discussion on how partnerships can help achieve the universal Sustainable Development Goals, and share what I’ve learned about how philanthropy is engaging in this shared commitment. After working with foundations in the U.S.

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated on March 8 of every year, IWD celebrates women around the world and their achievements. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and the International Women’s Day website documents the evolution of this global celebration. At a time when there are many places and situations where women's rights, equality, health, and safety remain marginalized, IWD is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Each year, Pennsylvania’s philanthropic sector invests more than $2.6 billion in grant making in the Commonwealth. Uncertainty about national and State public policies and budget realities will make philanthropy’s investments critically important, especially on behalf of vulnerable populations in our communities. Now more than ever, Pennsylvania foundations must come together to define a shared understanding that can amplify the voice of the sector and sharpen their focus on the impacts of policymaking on the social safety net and the non-profit community.