Family Philanthropy Playbook for Community Foundations

Unit 3: Private Foundations

Between 2002 and 2013, the number of family foundations grew by 44%, and 70% of them are under $10 million in assets. They’re seeking conversations and relationships that are more creative than “convert to a DAF.”


READ (5 minutes): 2015 NCFP Trends in Family Philanthropy Study

NCFP’s 2015 Trends Study was the first national benchmark report on family foundations. Conducted with the Urban Institute, it was the result of a survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,500 family foundations with $2 million or more in assets. Respondents answered questions about foundation size and identity, governance, family issues, grantmaking strategy, and future plans.

Over 56% reported actively engaging younger family members in their foundations, and 62% said younger family members add vibrancy and new ideas to their family foundation. However, they cited some challenges that could be opportunities for help by community foundations.

Could your family philanthropy services help family foundations overcome these challenges?

Do you know which local foundations will be facing these upcoming transitions? Could your services support them through that transition?


TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Family Philanthropy Webinar — Ten Ways Families work with Community Foundations [members only]

In this 2015 webinar, staff from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and Central Indiana Community Foundation are joined by donors and a philanthropic advisor to discuss the many ways they work together.

“I have no doubt that we would not be where we are today and we would have not made the transition from a good old-fashioned checkbook foundation to a very sophisticated and strategic foundation today were it not for the guidance and the advice, and, frankly, the strategic planning offered to us by CICF.”

– David Barrett, CEO, Glick Family Foundation


READ (20 minutes): How Do Family Foundations Partner with Community Foundations?

This article describes three family foundations’ purposes for working with community foundations. In each case, the partnerships have gone beyond grant transactions to opportunities for collaborative learning and funding.


TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Topical Call — Fee-based and Contracted Services for Private Foundations [members only]

Staff from Community Foundations of Texas and Foundation for the Carolinas kicked off a conversation about fee-based and contracted services to private foundations.


TUNE-IN (60 minutes):  Topical Call —Collaborating with Family Foundations [members only]

Hear from your peers about how they have collaborated with family foundations, like the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay & Hawaii Community. Leave with lessons learned.  Check out this document from Exponent Philanthropy for small foundations about collaborating with Community Foundations.


BORROW AND ADAPT (90+ minutes): Private Foundation Services Samples [members only]

This online folder contains sample marketing pieces for serving private foundations from community foundations serving California, the Carolinas, Monterey, Hawaii, Houston, Orange County, Seattle, and Tampa Bay.


Tune-In (60 minutes): Spark Session — Serving Families Who Use Multiple Philanthropic Tools [members only]

Philanthropic families are increasingly using multiple tools and strategies to achieve their goals for social impact: a DAF and a family foundation, a foundation and an impact investing portfolio, etc. In this 2017 webinar, Todd Hanson from the Orange County Community Foundation and Abbe Temkin from the Chicago Community Trust shared how their foundations support families using philanthropic tools outside of the community foundation.

Want to learn more about families using multiple tools? Read this 2019 report developed by Lansberg Gerick & Associates and/or watch their family philanthropy webinar from August 2019.

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