Contributions

Special grantmaking: A purposeful, flexible resource for foundations

Posted on January 8, 2021 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Many foundations that are guided by a long-term commitment to move the needle in a finite set of issue areas also hold “special grantmaking” funds. These program dollars can be flexibly deployed for nascent opportunities, innovative ideas, emergencies, local causes, and/or areas of high interest to their leaders. Little has been written about special grants as a vibrant resource for… Read More

Rehearsing the Future: An Introduction to Developing and Using Scenarios

Posted on January 8, 2021 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Scenarios are stories about different future environments in which today’s decisions might play out. We cannot predict the future. However, by thinking creatively and rigorously about a range of scenarios, we can rehearse future possibilities and prepare for what might be next. In the summer of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, job losses mounted, and the movement for racial… Read More

Sooner Rather Than Later, Chapter 3: 2018-2020

Posted on January 7, 2021 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California’s critical challenges “sooner rather than later.” The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to… Read More

Sooner Rather Than Later, Chapter 2: 2014-2017

Posted on January 7, 2021 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California’s critical challenges “sooner rather than later.” The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to… Read More

Spending down: Laurie Dachs answers questions for family philanthropies

Posted on January 7, 2021 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Courtesy of Jonathan Petersson from Pexels In October 2020, Nick Tedesco, president and CEO of the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP), talked with Lauren B. (Laurie) Dachs, president and vice chair of the board at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, about spending down all assets. The Foundation was founded in 1957; in 2009 it became a limited-life philanthropy… Read More

Trends 2020: Foundation Giving

Posted on November 19, 2020

This excerpt from NCFP’s Trends 2020 study shares data and analysis regarding various US family foundation giving trends, including payout rate, influences of giving decisions, discretionary grants, and much more. Family foundations must make choices around the size, number, and focus of their grants. They also have choices around how much they payout annually, the types of grants they make, and how… Read More

Trends 2020: Board Learning & Decision Making

Posted on November 19, 2020

This excerpt from NCFP’s Trends 2020 study shares data and analysis regarding various US family foundation giving trends, including board activity, foundations as learning institutions, development of new ideas, and much more. Family foundation board members must allocate time and identify ways to track and acquire the information they need to serve as effective fiduciaries for the organization. This section explores the… Read More

Trends 2020: Community Interaction & Communication

Posted on November 19, 2020

This excerpt from NCFP’s Trends 2020 study shares data and analysis regarding various US family foundation giving trends, including external communications, communications tools, outside perspectives, and much more. Increasingly, family foundations are finding new ways to communicate and engage with the communities they support. Many families are also considering the benefits of being more transparent with their philanthropy, but others feel that… Read More

Trends 2020: Family Dynamics and Next Generation Development

Posted on November 19, 2020

This excerpt from NCFP’s Trends 2020 study shares data and analysis regarding various US family foundation giving trends, including generation dynamics, strategies for engaging the next-gen, factors impacting family participation, and much more. Engaging The Next Generation The vast majority of family foundations have either specifically decided that they will exist in perpetuity, or seek to do so. With that decision comes… Read More

Trends 2020: Governance and Staff

Posted on November 19, 2020

This excerpt from NCFP’s Trends 2020 study shares data and analysis regarding various US family foundation giving trends, including board composition, governance policies, staff composition, and much more. How do family foundations choose who should serve on the board, and how they can prepare them for success when they assume this important role? Board composition and the establishment of appropriate governance policies… Read More

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