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).

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Inclusive Economic Prosperity IconPublic and private sector organizations, anchor institutions like community colleges and universities, and philanthropy all play a vital role in strengthening local economies. Together, they can serve as powerful drivers for building inclusive and equitable communities. Leadership and action are critical to creating new pathways to prosperity.

Plenary Sessions & Leadership in Action Series

We all came together to discuss the crucial opportunities and issues facing philanthropy today. We covered topics including inclusivity and leadership, bridging divides, addressing climate vulnerability, creating inclusive economic prosperity, and the latest in philanthropic practice.

 

Celebrate the Council’s 70th birthday in true Miami beach style! Attendees will be immersed in the tropical essences and pulsing energy of South Beach, as we celebrate with the very best music, fine cuisine, and entertainment South Beach has to offer.

As We Look Forward

2019 is an important year for the Council on Foundations. We are reflecting on our role in the changing landscape of philanthropy and the road ahead of us. Above all, we are committed to thinking creatively and responsively about how we best serve Council members.

This sample Fund Activity Policy provides language to include, either, in a stand-alone policy, or to be incorporated into an existing donor advised fund agreement or policy. Within the sample policy are: 1) acceptable types of grant activity, 2) a framework for activating grantmaking, and 3) definitions of terms used in the context of this sample policy.

According to The Center for Effective Philanthropy’s recent Strengthening Grantees Report, there is a gap between the support foundations provide and the support nonprofits actually need, which is pervasive and challenging to overcome. Can funders support grantees’ actual needs when nonprofits do not directly communicate it?

As we work to create change within communities and within systems, we must also strengthen how we leverage political advocacy in order to be effective. In this plenary, public and private sector leaders will discuss tools, tactics, and strategies for building and wielding political power to support social change on the key issues facing America and the world today. We will close the conference by focusing on timely and relevant topics, including the movement for gender equality and an end to sexual misconduct in the workplace, the national opioid crisis, and criminal justice reform.