Family Philanthropy Playbook for Community Foundations

Unit 6: Strategic Granting, Leadership, and Impact Investing

Family philanthropy services can include helping donor families define larger impact strategies and lead through use of their financial, social, human, and intellectual capitals. In this unit, you will find guides and examples for helping families make an impact.

READ (45 minutes): Balancing Responsive, Discretionary, and Strategic Grants

Over time, generous families often end up creating budgets or grant rounds for different type of purposes.

There are four common purposes or categories:

  • Discretionary – each family member, couple, or family branch can recommend grants based on their individual interests.
  • Legacy – a small set of organizations receives annual grants (often with little paperwork) because of their importance to the founders or family’s heritage.
  • Responsive – responding to ideas from the community.
  • Strategic – grants made with more focused intention or impact goals.

Here are good starting points for families interested in learning more:

TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Spark Session— Partnerships Between Family Donors and Community Foundations Beyond the Advised Fund

In this Spark Session webinar, staff from The Philanthropic Initiative and Foundation for the Carolinas explore the ways community foundations and donors work together to lead and influence greater community change.

READ (60 minutes): Search for Synergy

In 2015, The Philanthropic Initiative released “Foundation and Donor Priorities: A Search for Synergy in Community Foundations,” a report on the intersections of donor leadership and community foundation leadership. The report sparked a meeting of community foundation in Houston in 2016. This folder contains the original report, results of a survey of the practices of community foundations over $200M in assets, and notes and slides from the meeting. It also contains case studies from community foundations in Atlanta, Boston, and Houston.

TUNE-IN (45 minutes): Connecting Donors to Community Leadership Goals [fifth video, members only]

TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Philanthropic Services Beyond Grants

Donors use an increasingly broad set of tools to make a difference, amplifying the impact of their gifts and grants. How might you as a philanthropic advisor increase your comfort and competence in discussing the broader toolkit of impact tools in NCFP’s Impact Strategies & Tools Primer? NCFP Program Consultant Tony Macklin led a conversation in this July 2022 topical call.

READ (60 minutes): Strategic Giving and Impact Frameworks

Staff from the Greater Houston Community Foundation and Seattle Foundation led a peer group conversation about helping families develop strategic giving and impact frameworks.

TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Topical Call—Impact Investing with Donors [members only]

In this 2018 topical call, the Marin Community Foundation kicked off a discussion about involving donors in impact investing.

BORROW AND ADAPT: Impact Investing [members only]

Community foundations in Marin and Oregon shared materials on their impact investing work and Mission Investors Exchange shared the results of a late 2017 survey of community foundations.

TUNE-IN (60 minutes): Responses to DAF Grants and the Issue of Hate in Charitable Work

Community foundations across the country have initiated a variety of responses to the issue of hate in charitable work and DAF grants. Staff from the community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Foundation for the Carolinas, Marin Community Foundation shared tips in this June 2020 topical call.