Ginny's Blog Posts

Rowing the Philanthropic Boat Together: Reflections on Consensus and Civility

Posted by Virginia Esposito on August 15, 2011

A foundation needs trustees who can work together productively, but it does not require that they be unanimous in their opinions or uniform in their outlook. …A foundation’s extraordinary potential for good springs from its board’s ability to act as a collective, to be cohesive in fulfilling its public...

Qualities of a Good Trustee

Posted by Virginia Esposito on July 15, 2011

“As I see it, there is no other way that as few people can raise the quality of the whole American society as far and as fast as can trustees and directors of our voluntary institutions, using the strength they now have in the positions they now hold.” ~ Robert K. Greenleaf Recently, I had a wonderful...

Family Giving and Fairness

Posted by Virginia Esposito on June 15, 2011

Many of the philanthropic families who call on me for help in doing their best possible work in the best possible way invariably reach a point where they say they want a system that is fair to the family. Most start by wanting family fairness as a means to doing good grantmaking....

Renewing Your Commitment

Posted by Virginia Esposito on May 15, 2011

The process of emerging from a long, gray winter is a cause for celebration. Extra sunlight and the reintroduction of the stunning colors of nature are also extraordinarily energizing. I suppose that is why some take to spring cleaning. Since I am rarely inspired to clean, I personally prefer to take...

A generosity of spirit drives today's generation of family foundation CEOs

Posted by Virginia Esposito on April 15, 2011

What do lawyers, ministers, a whole lot of teachers, military officers, nurses, government officials, investment advisors, Peace Corps and Vista volunteers, a public relations executive, and many, many fundraisers have in common? They are all now chief executive officers of family foundations and were...

Leadership and Family Giving

Posted by Virginia Esposito on March 15, 2011

Leadership will be a prominent theme this month here at the National Center. It is a complex and sometimes sensitive topic in the field of family philanthropy. Who is the leader? Is it the family or the board? Why do so many boards embrace and others are more cautious about staff leadership?...

Celebrating the privileges of family philanthropy: Happy Holidays!

Posted by Virginia Esposito on December 15, 2010

It was about this time last year that I received a phone call from a very worried trustee of a family foundation. On behalf of her Board she had contacted her investment advisor to alert him to the fact that the trustees were concerned about all the nonprofits in her community....

You've got to have good friends (and a few truly great ones!): Honoring Anne Springs Close

Posted by Virginia Esposito on November 15, 2010

It couldn’t have been much past 7:00 in the morning. Only the faintest, early morning sun made its way through the tall trees to illuminate the small woman crossing the grounds towards me. I was staying in her family’s South Carolina home, a home that – in the morning quiet – particularly seemed to...

Creating a field one story at a time

Posted by Virginia Esposito on June 15, 2010

Every advance in our understanding of how family philanthropy begins, grows, struggles, renews, sometimes ends, and always inspires has come because of the willingness of donor families to share their experiences. Certainly everything I have ever learned about this remarkable tradition in my 30 years...

Creating a masterpiece and other everyday tasks

Posted by Virginia Esposito on April 15, 2010

When it comes to working in the philanthropic sector, it can be easy to be so overwhelmed by all the challenges that you miss celebrating the little wins much less your overall progress toward mission. There is too little time and too little money. There are too many good ideas and an uncertain path to...

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