Featured Article Posts

Practicing Transparency for Discovery and Learning

Posted by Richard Russell and Richard Woo on April 27, 2017

For us, transparency is as much about discovery as disclosure.

Lessons from Family Philanthropy: Rockefeller Brothers Fund at 75

Posted by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Barbara Shubinski on March 30, 2017

Launching family foundations is often the expression of donors’ desires to establish a lasting legacy and to instill in future generations the importance of giving. But family foundations face certain common pitfalls as well. The RBF is often held up as an example of a family foundation that has weathered these storms successfully. How might the ingredients of its success be described? What lessons can it offer?

Transparency, Privacy, and Trust: Finding Balance for Family Foundations

Posted by Richard Russell and Richard Woo on February 27, 2017

As a group, family philanthropies put a lot of energy into connecting with our constituents. We do this joyfully because we know that strong, trusting relationships are vital to our success and the communities we serve.

Exhibit in Review: Giving in America

Posted by National Center for Family Philanthropy on February 1, 2017

Last December, NCFP’s staff ventured out to explore the Giving in America exhibit at the Smithsonian National American History Museum in Washington, D.C. Here are our takeaways.

Family Foundations and Strategic Philanthropy: The Goradia Family's Process

Posted by Sapphira Goradia on October 21, 2016

Tasked with the responsibility of creating a strategic focus for the foundation, I realized that I had to take a step back and understand how my family’s values and beliefs informed their philanthropy.

It’s Time for Grantmakers to Embrace Failure

Posted by Katherine Lorenz on October 5, 2016

Philanthropy often encourages grantees to take risks, to be innovative, to find new solutions to old problems. Indeed, many refer to philanthropy as “risk capital,” providing funding that can help society create innovative, new models for addressing the world’s most intractable social issues. But risk and innovation often bring an uncomfortable consequence: failure.

Gratitude and humility in philanthropy; from a story, to a value, to action

Posted by Douglas Bitonti Stewart and Julie Fisher Cummings on September 6, 2016

The importance of documenting the ethos of our founders is well known in family philanthropy. Authors and leaders throughout the field have published articles and tools (e.g. Grandparent Legacy Project) aimed to help families ask questions to elicit the core values of our founders. These values are the backbone of our work. And when we are able to connect our founders’ values to real-life stories, it can have a profound impact on our families and those we serve.

The Parklands Project: A place-based project from the C.E. & S. Foundation

Posted by Daniel H. Jones on July 31, 2016

What if our generation aspired to create what our predecessors had by getting out ahead of the growth of our city and creating a new system of parks that would inject new life into Louisville’s neighborhoods? As a second-generation trustee of my family’s foundation, the C. E. & S. Foundation, I knew I had access to a resource that could help answer this important question.

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.

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?”

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