Featured Article

Creating an Effective Grant Agreement

Posted on November 15, 2007 by Kevin Laskowski

For most of its fifty-year history, the Dyson Foundation didn’t use grant agreements. The Millbrook, New York-based family foundation was concerned the contract-like letters of agreement between grantmaker and grantee would make the foundation too formal and bureaucratic. “We started using them some years go, though, with larger grants,” notes the foundation’s Executive Vice President Diana Gurieva. “It really helped… Read More
Ask the Center

Discretionary Grants Policy

Posted on November 15, 2007 by National Center for Family Philanthropy

Q: We were thinking of creating a discretionary grant policy where each board member could make some grants in their own areas while keeping the majority of the foundation’s grantmaking in our parents’ home state. How many other families do this and is this a good idea? A: Many family foundation boards allow discretionary grantmaking, that is, grants made largely… Read More

Gratitude and Generosity

Posted on November 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

November is a very special month for those involved in philanthropy. We set aside time to honor our traditions of gratitude. For many of us, gratitude and the chance to give back ranks high among the values that motivate our giving and volunteering. We are grateful for our own blessings and we generously want others to share in the kinds… Read More
Featured Article

Donor-advised funds: Tools for giving families

Posted on October 15, 2007 by Kevin Laskowski

Wanted: Tax-Advantageous, Convenient, Flexible Way to Give Back. Giving Family Seeks Way to Make Difference Privately. Must Love Children. Families looking for less time-consuming but still informed and effective ways to give back are increasingly turning to donor-advised funds, either exclusively or in tandem with other giving vehicles, such as private foundations. This month’s Family Giving News looks at how… Read More
Case Studies

The Lumpkin Family Foundation

Posted on October 15, 2007 by National Center for Family Philanthropy

When the Lumpkin family began, in 2005, to consider a new grant program, they encountered a stumbling block. While the family had a number of common interests—healthy food, education, water quality, nonprofit capacity-building—none of them produced enough “collective passion” to warrant the creation of a new grantmaking focus. “Rather than picking one of the program areas to work in, we… Read More
Case Studies

The Laird Norton Family

Posted on September 15, 2007 by National Center for Family Philanthropy

With a family business that goes back 152 years, the Laird Norton family has a lot of history to chronicle. That’s why they’ve chosen several ways to do it, including some novel approaches. In 1855, two brothers, Matthew George Norton and James Laird Norton, and their cousin, William Harris Laird, formed the Laird Norton Company, the first of many Laird… Read More
Featured Article

Telling Your Family’s Story

Posted on September 15, 2007 by Kevin Laskowski

Family philanthropies are intimately connected with the past that shapes them. As stewards of both a public trust and a family legacy, philanthropic families are constantly drawing on their history for wisdom, energy, and focus. That’s why growing numbers of families are recording their stories to share with future generations. The sharing can be as simple as storytelling at a… Read More

Reflection and Imagination

Posted on September 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

“So the future may learn from the past” As I began to type this message, I had to catch my breath when I keyed in “September 2007.” Knowing that this is our 10th anniversary month, I might have been more prepared for the shock of the startling passage of time. It’s striking to realize that in September of 1997, we… Read More
Case Studies

The Harman Family Foundation: Learning Leads to Focus

Posted on August 15, 2007 by National Center for Family Philanthropy

Wellesley College Professor of English Barbara Harman awaited the release of her book The Feminine Political Novel in Victorian England. The year was 1998, and when it arrived, after 10 long years of research and writing, she experienced something she assumes many authors discover upon the publication of their work. “That 10 years had been wrapped up in a little… Read More
Featured Article

Beyond Grantmaking

Posted on August 15, 2007 by Kevin Laskowski

“Foundations do not need a lot of money to be effective,” Ylvisaker declared. “If, indeed, they were to exploit only a fraction of the strategies available to them, their individual and collective impact on American life would be vastly and beneficially expanded.” Charles W. Collier, senior philanthropic adviser at Harvard University, agrees. “There is more to family wealth than the… Read More