Family foundations and funds are double bottom-line institutions, created so that giving families can make a difference together. Contemporary debates surrounding effectiveness focus on evaluating charities, proposals, and programs:
- How do trustees discern the real potential from the thousands of proposals they receive?
- How do they choose among the thousands of good programs out there?
- How do families know they are making a real difference with their limited assets?
These important, strategic conversations take on added nuances for family philanthropies, given the family’s personal investment in their philanthropy.
Still, ultimate impact of a family foundation or fund cannot be understood solely in terms of the sum total of each grant’s impact. There is more to consider:
- What role does the family play in the communities it cares about?
- What connections does it make, what actions does it take beyond grants that make a difference?
- Finally, what is the impact of the family’s philanthropy on the family itself?
Even as giving families fund effective programs, many are asking whether they are creating effective organizations, building an effective community, and fostering a family culture that will keep those high-impact programs alive and fund new ones for generations to come.
From evaluating charities and proposals to assessing your own giving through the National Center's Pursuit of Excellence
tool, the resources below are offered to help you evaluate your family's impact in a world of need.