Purpose, Motivations, and Mission

About this collection: This collection shares a variety of guidance and perspectives on how to translate motivations, values, and priorities into a philanthropic mission and vision, including activities, stories and samples.

Documenting your motivations, values and principles, and priorities is a terrific way to clarify your giving. You’ll use that documentation to review opportunities to give and get involved that come your way and to dream of opportunities you want to proactively pursue. As you give and volunteer over time, you’ll learn new ways to express the ideas or even refine or re-write some.

As you put your motivations, values, and priorities to work, you may find the need for further clarification. The need may come as you involve more family members, as you start receiving more requests to give, or both. Defining your preferred giving style and creating a purpose statement increase that clarity and increase both the personal reward and impact of your giving.

NOTE: If you haven’t already done so, consider starting your exploration of purpose and motivations by reviewing the Philanthropic Purpose Primer and other featured tools in NCFP’s Family Giving Lifecycle primer series.

Start Here

The Founder’s Hopes: From Values to Vision

Book Chapter
What are your underlying values and motivations and how do they shape your philanthropic goals and dreams? What are you trying to accomplish? How would you like to be involved in and manage your giving? And how would you like to bring others into this work - including members of …

Crafting Your Charitable Mission Statement: A Guide for Donors

Report
When donors start along their philanthropic journeys, one question that often arises is whether it is important to craft a mission statement; and if so, how best to do so. As with any journey, knowing your destination – or in this case, articulating your goals for your philanthropy by crafting a …

Where Do We Go Fom Here: Crafting a Family Mission Statement

Article
`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ [asked Alice]. `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ [said the Cat]. `I don’t much care where,’ [said Alice]. `Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.’ [said the Cat]. — …

Perspectives from Peers

A Rockefeller Family Foundation Turns Over Some New Leaves

Article
Over the past 18 months, the trustees and staff of the David Rockefeller Fund have embarked on a journey to engage a new generation of family trustees and reinvent a 25 year-old family foundation for a new century of philanthropic challenges.

Looking Inward: How We Clarified Our Values and Vision

Blog Post
Courtesy of Pixabay This letter was originally published by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and is re-posted here with permission. Jaimie Mayer is a co-chair of NCFP’s new Board Chair Peer Network. If you are interesting in joining, please sign up here. In Alicia Garza’s new book, The Purpose …

Have a Mission to Preserve a Vision

Report
An effective mission statement can help further many objectives for a family foundation, including helping to preserve and protect the vision of the founding philanthropist. Yet the importance of mission has been largely ignored by foundation experts and philanthropy pundits over the last 10 years.

Families can find mission in their dreams

Book Chapter
Family foundations and advised funds often begin with the donor/founder or a donor couple establishing the vision and mission. Increasingly, new family philanthropies include all family members (and others who are expected to play a role) in determining the shared sense of purpose.

Perspectives: Internal vs. External Missions

May 14, 2015

Balancing Internal Vs. External Missions in Family Philanthropy

What is your family’s dream for philanthropy? Are you primarily interested in achieving a particular grantmaking mission? Or are you interested in creating an opportunity for family members to come together and strengthen family ties through philanthropy and service to others? For many philanthropic families, the answer to this …

Aligning Your External Mission with Your Family’s Values

Article
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.’ 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 …

Activities

From the Start: Questions for Donors and Family Members

Tool
Donors often seek effective ways to involve other family members from the start. Heirs, meanwhile, look for ways to appropriately honor the legacy of the donor(s). There are many questions and issues likely to be considered by both the donor and future generations. (Source: Living the Legacy: The Values …

Stories and Samples

A Donor’s Passion Leads to a Family Foundation’s Mission

Impact Story
“When we started the foundation in the early ‘90s, it was clear to us that a principal thing we wanted to do was to continue her work in the field of aging and specifically her work with patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Those were very clear paths for us – …

How Purpose and Mission Interplay

Tool
This short case study illustrates the interplay of a private foundation’s legally non-binding mission statement and the legally binding statement of purposes contained in a foundation’s governing instrument.

Mission and Values (Zellerbach Family Foundation)

Sample
The Mission of the Zellerbach Family Foundation is to be a catalyst for constructive social change by initiating and investing in efforts that strengthen families and communities. Our Values: Responsibility We value the respected reputation earned by the Zellerbach Family Foundation through its work over the years. Application: We honor …

Mission and Values (Tarsadia Foundation)

Sample
Mission The Tarsadia Foundation supports non-profit organizations with programs and projects that provide educational opportunities for the underserved, support health and well-being of the community, and help to employ the employable through economic empowerment. Values Thrive: Programs, services and institutions can profoundly impact and improve people’s lives and prosper, …

Mission and Values of the Irving Harris Foundation

Sample
This is an example of a Family Foundation's mission and values. The mission states enhancing the quality of life for children, families and communities by advancing human potential, social justice and equity, and creative experience and expression.