We Can Be Bold Together

Today, the family philanthropy field is at a point of inflection. We are amidst a culminating moment in which our social, economic, and political landscapes are significantly changing. Now it is time for us to reflect on our purpose, pace, and practice to decide how we will meet this moment.

Will family philanthropy maintain the status quo? Or will we seize the opportunity to reflect, be bold, shift, and stretch? Family philanthropy, once in itself a radical idea, must continue to evolve if we want to be transformative and realize our greatest potential. We must harness the hope and eagerness to explore and discover what is possible. We must also be honest about our frustrations so that we can find solutions to overcome our longstanding challenges. 

At the National Center for Family Philanthropy, we believe that families can be significant levers for change. During this tumultuous year, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with many of you, and we’ve discussed the challenges of giving as well as our broken systems, which have been tested and exposed. Despite the enormity of the challenges we face, we’ve all sustained a belief that we can—and will—do better. We are introducing a strategy that will help prepare families to adjust their pace and practice and reflect on their purpose. 

Our strategy balances hope for better futures with practical guidance on making philanthropic practice more effective. My deep conversations with the community taught me a lot about your experiences, needs, and lessons on what works. I’ve learned where you face challenges, and I have a greater understanding of how you engage communities and grantee partners committed to navigating this changing world. Your desire to change, see results, share what works, and learn alongside peers helped us develop this strategy to move our shared community of family philanthropy forward. As a result, we are developing rich resources and supports that accomplish the following:

  • Apply a holistic and comprehensive view of family philanthropy that addresses the complex and nuanced stages and inner workings of family philanthropy  
  • Leverage the resources of field partners to serve as a hub of learning, peer connection, and action 
  • Deepen extended learning opportunities in which family philanthropy can test, discuss, and adopt effective approaches to social impact 
  • Foster a network where diversity is valued and where space is made for new voices and decision makers
  • Nurture partnership and collaboration 

Family philanthropy has many points of inflection—moments to embrace proven practices and advance momentum rather than stall out due to uncertainty and lack of clarity. We are committed to propelling open inquiry, ongoing reflection, and renewal of families. We are excited to introduce the Family Giving Lifecycle—a framework that provides easy onramps for families to connect with us—to begin planning, learning, and accessing custom support and resources.

Thank you for sharing insights that informed our approach and continuing to identify ways our field of family philanthropy can embrace the possibilities for a better future. We invite you to review our strategy, explore the Family Giving Lifecycle, and share your lessons and feedback. This is the moment for us to decide what we do next. Let’s be bold together.