Friends Focus highlights updates from members of our Friends of the Family network and their cutting edge work. This month features updates from The Council on Foundation's Distinguished Service Awards; Surdna Foundation; Frieda C. Fox Family FoundationGreater Houston Community Foundation;  John M. Belk EndowmentC.S. Mott FoundationAnnie E. Casey Foundation; and Ruderman Family Foundation

Are you a current Friend or Leadership Circle member of NCFP and have an update or news about your foundation that you would like to share with Family Giving News readers? Please email us. Interested in learning more about the families involved in NCFP's Friends of the Family network? Go here.

Ira Hirschfield and Carol Larson, two of NCFP's leading supporters, will be honored with the Council on Foundation's Distinguished Service Award

On Monday, April 11, the Council on Foundations will recognize two of family philanthropy's special leaders. Ira Hirschfield, president of the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and Carol Larson, President of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, will both receive the Distinguished Service Award during the Council's annual conference.

Ira Hirschfield

Virginia Esposito, founder and president of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, had this to say about these admirable philanthropic leaders: "Ira will be recognized for his many accomplishments in extending the voice and impact of the Haas Jr. Fund. Ira is also a founding board member of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, lending his critical voice to support the early development of family philanthropy services. He has been steadfast in that support ever since.

Carol Larson

Carol has led the Packard Foundation in a way that exemplifies the meaning of distinguished. When NCFP says our mission advances ethical and effective family giving, we could have no better model than the Packard Foundation. In addition to having served as chair of the Council, Carol has been an important advocate for funding those organizations that inspire and support excellent philanthropic practice."

Betsy Fader named Surdna Foundation Vice President of Programs


The Surdna Foundation announced that Betsy Fader, a leader in the philanthropic and social enterprise sectors, with experience in building and managing organizations across issue areas, has been appointed Vice President, Programs. Betsy will focus on implementing greater collaboration across the foundation’s grantmaking programs and administrative areas to further increase the impact of its programmatic investments. The foundation’s strategic plan, or Roadmap, identifies collaboration as critical to its success and has aligned its systems and staff to support this work. 

Annie E. Casey Foundation's new $5 Million grant program connects youth facing obstacles to higher education and employment

In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has announced that it plans to award $5.4 million in grants over the next three years to help more teens and young adults complete high school and postsecondary education and build paths to careers. The Foundation’s new Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) initiative aims to increase educational and employment opportunities for youth and young adults ages 14 to 25 who are in foster care or involved in the juvenile justice system, or who are homeless.

John M. Belk Endowment, in partnership with MDC, releases “North Carolina’s Economic Imperative: Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity

This report examines patterns of economic mobility and educational progress in North Carolina by demography and geography to determine who is being successfully prepared for entry and success in the most economically rewarding sectors of the state’s economy. The analysis focuses on the education-to-career continuum, a critical piece of an infrastructure of opportunity—the myriad systems that must be improved and aligned to prepare ever larger numbers of North Carolinians for family-sustaining work and a better shot at economic wellbeing.

C.S. Mott Foundation launches new program to help manage Great Lakes ecoysystem

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan, has announced the launch of a program designed to help local and regional stakeholders manage and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. In 2014, toxic algae blooms that were fueled by excessive nutrients in western Lake Erie forced a brief shutdown of Toledo's water system. In the wake of the crisis, researchers discovered that similar conditions threatened municipal water supplies in several other Great Lakes communities. Established with a $4 million grant from the Mott Foundation, Blue Accounting is an ambitious attempt to help leaders and decision makers across the region establish water-management goals and measure progress against those goals.

Ruderman Family Foundation releases "A Decade of Our Mission in Action" 


The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community. Guided by their Jewish values, the Foundation supports impactful programs, innovative partnerships, and a dynamic approach to philanthropy. This report showcases some of the success the foundation has achieved through cutting edge philanthropic practice, using highly focused and strategic approaches, and by harnessing the powerful influence of media -- especially social media -- to further inclusion advocacy and create an impact that reaches beyond any specific project. 

Greater Houston Community Foundation salutes 20th anniversary with new Center for Family Philanthropy

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Greater Houston Community Foundation hopes to answer the most important question of all. "Donors continually ask us, 'How can we help our children get involved and teach them about philanthropy?'" said Steve Maislin, the foundation's president and CEO. Their solution is the new Center for Family Philanthropy. "The center will be an interface for really impactful, multigenerational education," Maislin said. "Donors want a peer-to-peer network, family legacy and to learn from each other." Seven families each pledged $50,000 for founding-level status of the center. About 100 families have committed to the project. Under the guidance of Jennifer Touchet, its director of family philanthropy, members will tap into services such as relationship managers, a Next Gen Donor Institute, youth programs, peer-to-peer convening, alumni networks and family governance advising.

New video on power dynamics in philanthropy features NCFP Friend The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation

Philanthropy Lessons is a video series and campaign produced by Exponent Philanthropy, funded by the Fund for Shared Insight, and released in partnership with The Chronicle of PhilanthropyTogether, to help others be more effective and efficient in creating the change they want to see in the world, we are sharing words of wisdom from some of the industry’s most inspirational funders about what they have learned throughout their philanthropic careers. This highlighted video is about the power dynamic that exists in funder/grantee relationships and includes Annie Hernandez & Liam Fox of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation

Special Thanks: NCFP Friends and Leadership Circle members

We offer special thanks to our Friends of the Family and Leadership Circle funders who support and sustain the work of NCFP. Our Leadership Circle recognizes a special group of our most generous supporters. Our Friends offer continuing support for our work, ensuring that future generations of donor families can access the best possible resources for sound decision-making. See a complete list of NCFP Leadership Circle and Friends of the Family. Or, for more information, please contact Maureen Esposito at 202.293.3276 or at