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 GrantmakersExponent Philanthropy and Inside Philanthropy.

Are you a current Friend or Leadership Circle member of NCFP with an update or good 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.

Who has the Power to Make Positive Change? The McKnight Foundation Reveals its Annual Report

The McKnight Foundation’s new digital annual report shares nine powerful stories of transformation and offers a vision of what is possible. The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. They use all their resources to attend, unite, and empower those they serve. 

Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Awards Theatrical Outfit $100,000 Grant 

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has awarded $100,000 to Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta's second oldest, continuously-operating professional theatre company. The grant is to research the intersections between MARTA users and performing arts patrons by identifying barriers between patrons taking MARTA to performances and, alternatively, MARTA users attending arts and culture performances. The grant is made through the Audience Building Roundtable, an initiative of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, whose goal is to provide support to eligible arts and culture nonprofits to deepen relationships with existing audiences and attract new audiences. 

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund Mourns the Loss of Abby O’Neill

With deep sadness, the trustees and staff of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund mourn the passing of former trustee and board chair, Abby M. O’Neill (1928-2017). Abby was elected a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 1958, the first member of her generation to serve on the board of the Fund. She was a trustee for 39 years, longer than any but the founding trustees, until retiring from the board in 2000. She was an advisory trustee from 2000–2009.

The Castellano Family Foundation Reaffirms Their Mission

In light of recent events, the Castellano Family Foundation reaffirms their mission to enable Latino youth and youth of color to achieve their education goals; promote Latino arts and culture; invest in the leadership of Latinos and their nonprofit partners; and use the Foundation’s leadership and leverage to promote social equity, inclusion, and diversity for Latinos and other people of color.

A Small, Progressive Family Funder Comes Out of its Shell

NCFP’s Trends in Family Philanthropy study was recently cited in an article by Inside Philanthropy, highlighting small funders carrying out family legacies, trying to make impacts of their own. They focus on the Noya Fields Family group of charitable funds, and the young couple behind it, who’ve made some notable environmental grants lately. Roughly half of all private foundations are family foundations, and many are relatively young. According to the NCFP’s first-ever national benchmark survey of family foundations in 2015, nearly 70 percent of family foundations were created after 1990. 

2017 Family Philanthropy Conference Recap & Takeaways

Southern California Grantmakers’ 2017 Family Philanthropy Conference: Trusting Values / Navigating Disruption brought together more than 100 family philanthropy leaders to connect, build relationships, and learn from one another. The focus of this year's conference was timely for those feeling keenly aware of increasing stress and chaos in the world. Disruption can lead to personal and organizational growth, as well as new ideas, collaborations, and opportunities to reevaluate goals. Keynote speakers Jan Jaffe and Henry Berman also reinforced how family philanthropy faces many challenges that cannot be fixed with technical solutions, so we will always need values to guide our work and strategy.

Exponent Philanthropy Releases Pulse Survey

A new survey by Exponent Philanthropy shows the vast majority of its members (82%) expect the institution of philanthropy to play a more important role in society as a result of recent changes in Washington, DC. Issued in late March to Exponent Philanthropy’s members – foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors – the informal “Pulse Check” survey looked at how changes today in politics may impact philanthropic behavior in the year ahead, both in terms of giving practices and investments. 

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