Family Foundations

Wisconsin Data Constituency Group - FF
A Family Foundation is a private foundation that is usually created by a single individual or family and is governed at least in part by the donor or the donor’s family, descendants, or close associates.

The foundation generally supports the donor(s)’ personal charitable interests. Family foundations make up the largest proportion of grantmaking organizations, by far.

The IRS does not distinguish family foundations from other private foundations. However, The Foundation Center has identified well over 41,000 family foundations as of 2012.

Family philanthropy, whether through a foundation, a community foundation fund, a church, or other vehicle, attempts to weave the family's traditions and values into their charitable giving.  In doing so, the family may seek to meet several goals:

  • Giving back to community
  • Creating a family legacy
  • Uniting the family around a common purpose
  • Teaching subsequent generations the value of giving

Our Family Foundation Members include

Argosy Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc., Charles D. Jacobus Family Foundation, Daniel Hoan Foundation, Evan and Marion Helfaer Foundation, Herbert Kohl Philanthropies, Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, Zilber Family Foundation, Katz Family Foundation, Kaztex Foundation, Kelben Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, Mark & Sally Egan Foundation, McGinnity Family Foundation, Inc., Nimick Forbesway Foundation, Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Charitable Trust, R A Stevens Foundation, Schlecht Family Foundation, Suzanne and Richard Pieper Family Foundation, Theodore W. Batterman Family Foundation, Weiss Family Foundation, Ziegler Family Foundation

Did you know? WPN's members with family foundations constitute 21% of total membership.

Select Materials

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence - By Council on Foundations

Top 10 Family Foundations

Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?
By Foundation Center
While existing in perpetuity is the norm for the majority of family foundations, more than a third are either uncertain about lifespan or expect to limit their lifespan, according to the first large-scale study of family foundation lifespan plans, jointly released by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations. The report benchmarks the intentions, practices, and attitudes of nearly 1,100 family foundations active in 2008.

Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations
By Council on Foundations
These stewardship principles and practice options to strengthen performance describe how family foundations can reflect these fundamental values in their board governance, management and grantmaking.

Ten Ways for Family Foundations to Consider Diversity and Inclusive Practices
Council on Foundations

National Organizations

National Center for Family Philanthropy's mission is to promote philanthropic values, vision, and excellence across generations of donors and donor families.

For additional resources and free research assistance, please contact WPN to become a member!
“Over time, family members change and program priorities change; what holds the family and its philanthropy together is the legacy of its values. 
This legacy provides continuity and [a] donor family believes it is the continuity—the family values—that gives the family philanthropy its special character.”

- Bruce Sievers, former Executive Director of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund