In this piece, June Wilson, Executive Director emeritus of the Quixote Foundation, reflects on the value of uncovering and examining unconscious bias, shining the light on how other funders can do the same.
As we roll into 2017, there have been lots of articles about how philanthropy must adapt. Let’s take care of a few logistical things foundations do that make nonprofits want to roll up a printed-out copy of our tax filings and beat themselves unconscious. Funders: Please go through this list one item at a time and tally up your FLAIL points. Then have a conversation with your team about what things you can do to improve your score.
There is no one size fits all – about generations, enfranchisement, succession, or the dynamics that inform decisions. There are, though, methods to help make constructive decisions, and properly applied, can make all the difference.
As the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation matured, the board – composed of about half Donnelley family and half non-family members – realized that by not discussing the foundation’s work in a larger, more public way, might hinder our ability to serve the grantees, partners, and issues we are most concerned about.
This fall’s National Forum for Family Philanthropy is one of those key opportunities to deepen our learning of best practices, innovative approaches, trends and lessons learned. And, unlike other large philanthropic gatherings, NCFP’s Forum is strictly about family.
Friends Focus highlights updates from members of our Friends of the Family network and their cutting edge work. This month features updates from The McKnight Foundation; The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; The Rockefeller Brothers Fund; The Castellano Family Foundation; Southern California Grantmakers; Exponent Philanthropy and Inside Philanthropy.
But while your family foundation isn’t ruled by the same market forces that helped your family accumulate its wealth, you will undoubtedly want to find out whether your work is making a difference and whether your organization is operating efficiently.
These are extraordinary times. For more than 25 years, Nathan Cummings Foundation’s mission has explicitly named a commitment to democratic values and social justice, supporting the most vulnerable, respecting diversity and promoting understanding across cultures, and empowering communities. Today, we are facing assaults on the values we hold dear.
The R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation is the legacy of Howard Dobbs, Jr., a lifelong Atlantan who was a respected businessman, a civic leader, and a generous philanthropist. He did not have children of his own but was very close to his sister’s three children. As Mr. Dobbs grew older and began making decisions about the long-term future of the family foundation he’d established in 1959, he turned to his nephew and nieces for leadership. He asked them to join the foundation’s board and tasked them with responsibility for its stewardship after his death.
Foundations’ decisions about their lifespan should not be guided by concerns about doing it right or doing it wrong; their decisions should be guided by the unique circumstances and vision of each foundation.