Friends Focus is a special feature of Family Giving News that highlights members of our Friends of the Family network and their cutting edge work with family foundations and advised funds. Are you a current Friend of the National Center and have an update or news about your foundation that you would like to share with Family Giving News readers? Email us. Not yet a friend? Learn more!

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation: 50 years as a family foundation!

carol-larson1The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was a founding donor of the National Center for Family Philanthropy and has always been an advocate for the value of family in philanthropy. This excerpt from Packard’s President Carol Larson reflects on their 50 years and how they see the Packard Foundation’s place among philanthropic organizations. “We are one of the largest family foundations in the country, led by a governing board of second- and third-generation Packard family members and also non-family trustees.  We aspire to be one of the best examples of a family philanthropy that both embraces, and contributes to, good grantmaking practices across the philanthropic and nonprofit fields.

As described in the message from Susan Orr, the Foundation’s Board chair, throughout our history we have sought to honor the generosity and foresight of our founders, David and Lucile. We are inspired and shaped by their example and by their values, including their encouragement to innovate, to take risks, and to adapt in order to have greater impact.  Indeed, while the underlying strategies and the specifics of our work have changed, the issue areas we support still flow directly from the Packard family’s values and interests. David and Lucile, not only through this organization, but also through their personal philanthropy and leadership in communities large and small, worked throughout their lives to improve their world. This tradition of leadership and contribution continues in the family and at the Foundation today.  Continue reading. 

Steve Hilton Plans to Retire after 30 years at the Helm of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

steve-hiltonSteven M. Hilton has led the Foundation as the President, CEO, and Chairman since 1998. While he will be transitioning out of his role as President and CEO at the end of 2015, he will remain Chairman of the Board. Just in the past year,  they granted their billionth dollar, hired their 50th team member, settled into a new LEED Platinum campus, and awarded $92 million across several well-defined program areas.

In his letter of resignation he says, “on a personal level, carrying out the philanthropic legacy of my grandfather, Conrad Hilton, has given my life a deep sense of meaning and purpose. It is truly a blessing to see how the collective efforts of our team have improved the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people around the world. While I continue to love this work and deeply enjoy connecting with the bright and compassionate people on our staff and across our network of partners, I feel the time is right to start the next phase of my life… It has been a privilege to carry out the legacy of my grandfather Conrad N. Hilton and my father Barron Hilton. I am proud of the foundation that bears my family’s name, and I look forward to its good work for many years to come.” Continue reading.

In Memoriam: Ronny Zinner

ronny-zinnerRonny Zinner was the beloved President of the Carl & Ruth Shapiro Foundation who has been a longtime friend of NCFP. The following is an excerpt from her obituary. “A quiet presence, but an unmistakable force, Rhonda (Ronny) Zinner built her life around three pillars: an unyielding love of family, a passion for learning, and a commitment to community service. With a classic elegance and somewhat shy demeanor, she touched countless lives through small acts of kindness and thoughtful advice. Her focus on family and community were both lessons learned from her parents – Ruth and Carl Shapiro – around the dining room table talking about their days, the world around them and how they could make a difference…

Combining education, family and her many passions was the work that Ronny did as president of the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. Ronny’s leadership built on the philanthropic legacy of her parents and brought a fresh perspective on how best to impact the lives of Boston residents. Her father Carl recently said, “Ronny was the Foundation. She was dedicated to helping as many people as she could and when she took over day to day, I told her ‘do what you think best.’ And she did; she was all a father could ask for.”

Fueled by empathy for those who struggled with life’s challenges and a commitment to social justice, Ronny led the Foundation in developing new grant making strategies that worked at both the individual and community levels to empower people to make positive changes in their lives. The result was that during her tenure, the Foundation granted over $10 million to more than 100 community-based organizations in Boston for efforts such as after-school youth arts programs, recreational opportunities for people with disabilities, ESOL instruction for immigrant adults, and college access for aspiring Boston high school students. These grants complemented the ongoing capital investments made in Boston area education and cultural institutions by her parents.”  Continue reading.