Cambridge, Massachusetts, synonymous with outstanding education, innovation, and youthful energy, was the perfect setting for the National Center for Family Philanthropy’s first Forum on Family Philanthropy earlier this month (#ncfp14). Family and friends gathered there from around the country to enjoy the warmth of good people, lively conversation, and the inspiration that comes from sharing ideas.
It was wicked awesome, as we would say in Boston. I experienced that feeling of familiarity and genuine happiness that comes with greeting people you haven’t seen in years and the curiosity of learning how far they’ve come, much like a college reunion. But here the seasoned alumni were mingling with the incoming classes of new philanthropists who brought fresh approaches and different questions.
My colleague Amy Segal Shorey and I had a wonderful opportunity to share some of what we’ve learned in our work with family foundations through our Foundations in Practice case studies. The three workshops we led centered on themes familiar to most in this field. What made them wonderful was the buzz of dozens of people sharing their perspectives, knowledge, and creativity in devising solutions to real life challenges. Each of us became a teacher and a learner.
Foundations in Practice is a collection of case studies that examine the key themes in the practice of philanthropy and demonstrate the resourcefulness and creativity of foundations that have addressed them. For a sense of the workshop discussion and learning, follow the links below:
- Grantmaking, Geography, and Leadership follows a family foundation learning to adapt to a geographically dispersed board and shape its family legacy within a changing region. Click on this link for ten ideas to consider when reviewing your foundation’s geographic commitment.
- Finding Agreement on Family Boards touches on navigating the tender terrain that conflicting loyalties create among family board members. Here are ten ideas to consider when foundation decision making becomes personally difficult.
- Choosing and Preparing Your Grantmaking Successors brings to light the importance of adopting a “succession mindset” during the various transitions in a foundation’s lifecycle. Follow this link for ten ways to plan for continuity and succession on your family board.
We are more certain than ever of the power of peer learning groups, and look forward to our continued partnership with the National Center for Family Philanthropy in developing a full complement of Foundations in Practice case studies.
Our common background as students and alumni of family philanthropy binds all of us who flocked to Cambridge for #ncfp14, and provides a rich bond for sustaining relationships across the years and the generations. Our learning – practical and relevant – is bolstered by those who share their experiences, personal approaches, and genuine concerns about their philanthropy.
For GMA Foundations, the very first National Forum was a hit because of the people assembled there. These deep and fruitful connections nourish other dimensions of our lives, and make us glad for friends and family.
Click here for a Resource List for all three #ncfp14 Foundations in Practice sessions, courtesy of Jason Born, Senior Program Director at NCFP.
See the original blog post on GMA Foundations Website here.
Editors note: GMA Foundations has a long standing partnership with NCFP to develop case studies as learning tools for family foundations which were premiered at the National Forum on Family Philanthropy. GMA Foundations was also a sponsor of the Forum.