The Legacy of Paul Ylvisaker

Posted on February 15, 2008 by Virginia M. Esposito

Those who have read my writing or heard me speak have invariably come across a reference to Paul Ylvisaker. It is important to me that my work includes stories and quotes of our philanthropic thinkers and mentors, particularly those who have shaped the tradition and practice we carry on today. Philanthropy’s need to respond to current demands and even anticipate… Read More

The Voices of Family Philanthropy

Posted on January 15, 2008 by Virginia M. Esposito

It’s January and the New Year is still young enough to leave most of us feeling invigorated by its possibilities. I think of possibilities when I think of New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not sure that is the prevailing attitude. Consequently, resolutions tend to be reflections of regrets and guilt — no wonder they are forgotten by mid-January… Read More

Looking to the Past and the Future for Lessons

Posted on December 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

It must be December because I am making a list and checking it twice – of all the things I promised myself I would do this year and have yet to accomplish. Taking stock is a healthy and disciplining exercise. It is also humbling and instructive. This December, I am learning new things about assessment, the value of heritage and… 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

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

Summer, Sharing, and Vacations: Activities for Children

Posted on July 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

It’s summer and a young person’s fancy turns to …philanthropy? Well, perhaps more than you might think. I ran into a friend recently and she told me her college freshman daughter was off to Nicaragua. Sarah belongs to a group that organizes charitable field trips for young people – giving them the chance to help those considerably less fortunate while… Read More

Motivations for Board Service: Why Many Family Members Want In and Some Don’t Want to Leave

Posted on May 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

Many of the requests for help that come to me directly or as referrals from colleagues or National Center staff are about governance. When it comes to the fundamentally important issue of effective trusteeship – and appropriate foundation governance – the range of questions is startling and no question is insignificant. How do other foundations structure their boards? Should we… Read More

Project Vs. General Operating Support: Need it Be Either/Or?

Posted on April 15, 2007 by Virginia M. Esposito

With reports from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and the Center for Effective Philanthropy, among others, focusing on program vs. operating costs, I am often asked how donors and family funders are dealing with this debate. I remember the passionate debate that followed a major paper on this issue by Michael Seltzer and Michael Cunningham – and I am sure those… Read More