Posts tagged to 'Donor intent and legacy statements'

Expanding your comfort zone: 5 windows into risk in family philanthropy (Passages excerpt)

Posted by Tony Macklin on May 5, 2016

Philanthropy is often described as society’s “risk capital.” Our generosity can support causes and ideas that business and government agencies cannot or will not. We can use our resources to inspire new ideas, challenge existing thinking, or continue supporting an organization when others won’t. However, the idea of risk in philanthropy quickly muddies as we direct our generosity through a family foundation, donor-advised fund, or other collective effort. Our ideas about and tolerance for risk diverge, shaped by individual, family branch, professional, and other experiences.

Are you using your power, or leaving it on the table?

Posted by Andy Carroll and Exponent Philanthropy on April 26, 2016

Acknowledging and talking about power is taboo. We’re uncomfortable with the fact that some wield greater strength and influence, and feel no shame about using it to hold sway over others. In spite of our laws and regulations, our checks and balances, our moral and social norms nurturing restraint and respect, people use power to bend rules, exclude and disenfranchise, distort facts and disseminate misinformation, manufacture fear, and secure preferential treatment.

10 questions to help start the values conversation

Posted by Suzanne Hammer on April 21, 2016

The way to fulfillment in philanthropy—and by and large as a family—is the degree to which you are driven by purpose and shared values. In other words, why you give matters just as much, if not more, than what you give. Whether you are talking about preserving wealth or giving it away, it’s important to be clear on the family and individual values that drive that decision. Yet, how many people have voiced their own values, less held a conversation with loved ones about the values they share? My guess? Not many.

Why the choice to spend down is good for philanthropy

Posted by Virginia Esposito on April 19, 2016

For much of the 20th century, the vast majority of U.S. foundations operated under the idea that they would be in business forever. But as a new generation of family philanthropists take over — and families contemplate just how long forever actually lasts and reflect on the present needs in their communities — a growing number are deciding that they would rather grant their assets during a set period of time than manage their endowments in perpetuity.

Three shifts toward changing philanthropy’s advocacy narrative

Posted by Laurel O'Sullivan and Sonya Campion on April 11, 2016

Advocacy is the single most effective strategy to achieve social impact. Without advocacy, achieving real social transformation is not possible. It provides both the scale and pathway to implement the solutions foundations fund. Yet there remains a tendency to undervalue and avoid it as a grant making strategy for a multitude of reasons based on misperceptions, fear, and often impatience for quicker results.

Aligning your external mission with your family’s values

Posted by Douglas Bitonti Stewart on April 4, 2016

In our day-to-day work in family philanthropy, we often worry about ‘what’ we do and don’t often pause to consider the ‘why.’ We spend a lot of time crafting and stewarding our external mission statements to describe the impact we’d like to make in the world with partners and the people inside the issues we hope to face. But perhaps we should also spend some concerted time thinking about the why — asking questions like, "Why is our family involved in philanthropy? What impact do we hope to see in our families through this work?”

Generations Together: Tools for teaching the next generation to give

Posted by Virginia Esposito on March 1, 2016

According to the National Center for Family Philanthropy’s recent 2015 Trends Study, nearly 3 in 5 U.S. family foundations engage younger family members in the foundation — and more than 40% say they expect to add to or increase the number of younger-generation family members on their boards in just the next four years. This is an encouraging trend — especially for those of us who believe that these important institutions can have a much greater impact if they can keep the family productively engaged in their work.

How can we prepare for the death of our founder or donor?

Posted by Suzanne Hammer on December 2, 2015

In this month's edition of "Ask the Center," we are pleased to share a guest post from Suzanne Hammer, founder of Hammer and Associates, discussing the recent passing of her father: "In the midst of a loved one dying, there are many decisions to be made. There’s paperwork and Power of Attorneys and property. There’s money. There’s final wishes and figuring out what do with all the “stuff.” In my experience, the stress of it all sometimes divided us more than it brought us together. We all wanted the best for our dad, and we each had strong opinions on what “the best” meant to us."

The Stifler Family Foundation shares their story at the National Forum on Family Philanthropy

Posted on October 28, 2015

On October 14, 2015 at the National Forum on Family Philanthropy in Seattle, WA, Larry Stifler and Mary McFadden, founders of the Stifler Family Foundation, reflect on how their past opportunities influenced their generous giving now. Listen to their story here and follow the National Center for Family Philanthropy on

The best mistake we ever made: Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Posted by Kathleen Odne , Karen Green and Jenifer Getz on October 28, 2015

A sure-fire indicator that we all make mistakes was the capacity crowd at the National Forum on Family Philanthropy workshop in Seattle entitled, “The Best Mistakes We Ever Made.” Using a rapid-fire format, each of ten speakers took three minutes to share a mistake they made in their family philanthropy experience. To set the context, each speaker explained the goal and framework by responding to, “What were you trying to do”? Next they explained, “What happened that was unexpected – in other words, what went wrong?” Finally, and most importantly, we asked the mistake-makers to share, “What did you learn from your mistake?” In other words, how did the foundation changes its practices as a result?

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