Additional Reading: Enhancing Your Family’s Philanthropic Decisions

There are a variety of resources, both new and old, on the topic of enhancing diversity in the view and perspectives on family foundation boards. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • A Place at the Table: Non-Family Membership on the Family Foundation Board by Joseph Foote and Dorna L. Allen, published by the National Center for Family Philanthropy, December 2011. When a family foundation board works as a team—with harmony of vision, purpose, and shared expertise—it may see no real need to bring in outside members. The family itself is the board’s first and greatest resource. But circumstances may arise where family members are not fully able to meet the board’s need for expertise or goals for future governance. (Note: access to the Family Philanthropy Online Knowledge Center is required to view and download this edition of Passages).

  • Building Board Diversity,” by Ellen Bryson, Foundation News & Commentary, November/December 2004. Over the last 50 years, American communities have changed. The idea of a homogeneous culture is a thing of the past. Philanthropy is also changing. With an ever-increasing number of people of color amassing wealth, this new donor diversity has begun to alter foundation views and practices.
  • The Challenge of Diversity,” published by the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, 2003. This short pamphlet describes the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation’s decision to actively involve the communities it supports in both the management and governance of the foundation. According to the pamphlet, “The problems we face will become only more diverse. So must our problem solvers. The growth of trust and accountability among family members and staff at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation has helped us redefine who we are, and re-enforced our sense of mission.
  • Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color, published by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, January 2012. Explores trends in giving within and on behalf of communities of color, often organized through the Cultures of Giving program; the program’s strategies; lessons for the field; and ways funders can collaborate with and advance identity-based philanthropy.
  • Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists, published by John F. Blair, Publisher, October 2011. A moving portrait of African American philanthropy is a marriage of powerful photographic images and portraits of a cross-section of black philanthropists from various backgrounds and forms of giving. The givers profiled are reminders that each individual is valuable to the strength of community. (Editor’s note: thanks to Ohio Grantmakers for this suggestion.)
  • Grant Making, Continuity, and Diversity,” by Anne C. Hallett, Executive Director, Wieboldt Foundation, published by the Council on Foundations. The diversity of the Wieboldt Foundation’s board of directors reflects its deep Chicago roots. Founded in 1921 by William and Anna Wieboldt, the foundation is known for its grants to Chicago’s rich mix of community organizations and for its activist board, integrated by race, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Not in the Family,” by Deborah A. Brody, Foundation News & Commentary, May/June 1995. While family foundations have paid much attention to issues such as whether or not to include “outsiders” and how non-family members should be selected for board service, they seem to have given less consideration to methods for involving non-family members once they’ve been elected.

What are your favorite resources on this topic? Please share your suggestions in the comments below!

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