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. Due to the large number of resources on our website, we highly recommend you use the site navigation or the search feature to find what you are looking for.

Leading Together 2021 will feature dynamic opportunities to learn, connect, and reflect. Our programming will catalyze courageous, perspective-shifting conversations about how we can improve as a sector and tackle the biggest challenges of our time together.
Register for Leading Together 2021 taking place June 14-17.
Hear what three funders are doing to foster the needed partnerships with trusted community organizations and/or government health agencies responsible for vaccine distribution. Learn about philanthropic responses being undertaken to tackle the issues of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. This discussion will provide an opportunity for attendees to share what they are doing to promote vaccine education and outreach, particularly to communities of color.
Join GCIR for a conversation with local and national AAPI leaders to learn more not only about the narrative, policy, and solidarity efforts to address anti-Asian violence but also about opportunities to build durable AAPI immigrant power across the country.
Hear an overview of the recently passed $1.9 trillion relief legislation known as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the key pillars of the new infrastructure proposals, the American Jobs Plan, announced by President Biden on March 31. The jobs plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities, so the input from the philanthropic community can help policymakers envision what solutions can be translated into legislative language. Find out if your Member of Congress is one of the legislative architects or a key influencer in the House or Senate.
Join us for a series of workshop trainings based on the most reported pain points for foundations in the Shifting Practices, Sharing Power.
Read the latest UN and Country Regulatory updates, Global Philanthropy & Development News, and more.
In response to the racial reckoning in 2020, foundations have sought many perspectives to learn how they can support racial justice, shift power, and more effectively engage communities in grantmaking decisions. Moving beyond the basic practices that many foundations are already incorporating, this workshop will examine how foundations can incorporate a racial equity perspective in their overall strategy setting and implementation planning at both the institutional level and the programmatic level.
Many foundations are exploring potential new programs in response to the pandemic, racial reckoning, and threats to our democracy, among many other challenges. This workshop will introduce a structured, efficient process that foundations can use to quickly learn ‘the lay of the land’ in potential new spaces and identify how they can complement – and learn from – the efforts of others as they seek to generate meaningful, measurable impact.
As our world becomes more uncertain, planning for the future becomes more important, but also more difficult. This interactive workshop will introduce fundamental tools used in scenario analysis and risk management and show how foundations can apply these tools to predict how economic, social/political, and environmental changes might affect their grantees and their beneficiaries. It will also provide guidance for making contingency plans to respond to possible dramatic changes in their operating environment.