Although the term is used widely, there is no standard definition of family philanthropy in the research literature. Nor is there a standard definition of family foundation, because this type of entity is not part of the Internal Revenue Service’s legal classification system for nonprofit organizations and foundations.
In practice, however, family foundation typically connotes the active involvement of donors or members of the donors’ family in the foundation. This definition becomes increasingly difficult to measure—especially over time as the original donors die and as donors’ descendants exhibit various levels of involvement with the foundation.
For the NCFP’s 2015 Trends Study, our research partner, the Urban Institute, relied on the Foundation Center’s definition of family foundation, which uses a multistep process to identify and to classify foundations as family foundations. This methodology includes self-designation by the foundation, computer searches to identify potential family members listed on the foundation’s board or leadership staff, and other matching strategies.
Explore the collection, Getting Started
The Future of Family Philanthropy: Positioning Families for Greatness
Posted on July 23, 2020 by Nicholas A. Tedesco, Kimberly Dasher Tripp
Opportunity of a Lifetime 2.0: Multigenerational Family Philanthropy
Posted on June 12, 2017 by Kylie Musolf, Danielle LaJoie
Consider the Coconut: Moana and Family Philanthropy
Posted on March 28, 2017
Seven Lessons “Hamilton” Can Teach Us About Family Philanthropy
Posted on January 3, 2017
The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective
Posted on December 17, 2016 by Center for Effective Philanthropy
How Social Justice Giving Honors Our Roots and Strengthens Communities – NCRP
Posted on July 21, 2016 by National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
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