Courtesy of Min An from Pexels

Values and Motivations

About this collection: This Content Collection highlights webinars, blog posts, and other resources that discuss the importance of values and motivations, shares experiences of giving families, and provides sample policies and tools.

Curated By: Jason Born

Clearly defined motivations and values are the underpinning of an effective family philanthropy strategy—they articulate a purpose, provide direction, and serve as a measure of accountability. They are also a dynamic and ever-evolving tool to guide donors and their family through the lifecycle of their philanthropic effort.

This Content Collection highlights webinars, blog posts, and other resources that discuss the importance of values and motivations, shares experiences of giving families, and provides sample policies and tools.

For additional perspectives about philanthropic families and healthy money narratives, see the Content Collection, Money and Values.

Starting the Conversation: Questions to Guide Your Discussions

Family Values, Family Philanthropy

Book Chapter
How families inspire and shape values—particularly the value of giving— and how those are passed from one generation to another, are critical elements in ensuring a healthy charitable future.

10 Questions to Help Start the Values Conversation

Article
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 values that drive that decision. How many people have voiced their own values, held a conversation with …

5 Questions to Help You Align Your Giving Values and Practices

Article
Today, the practice of philanthropy is under continuous review – and not just by our critics or those who look suspiciously at big endowments. Those who want the very best for our field and the greatest impact for our work are also looking beyond why we give to examine the how.

Webinars

stack of blocks with arrows pointing upward - direction, mission, plan
January 14, 2021

Defining and Translating Motivations and Values

Clearly defined motivations and values are the underpinning of an effective family philanthropy strategy—they articulate a purpose, provide direction, and serve as a measure of accountability. They are also a dynamic and ever-evolving tool to guide donors and their family through the lifecycle of their philanthropic effort. Yet many …
February 13, 2020

Family Philanthropy: Tying Grantmaking Practices to Shared Values

Connecting values to practice is key in family philanthropy — shared values can help family givers develop a grantmaking strategy that ties their vision and mission to real impact. As your family considers its own philanthropic strategy, how do you begin to think about your values and put them into practice? …

Required Reading

Core Values of a Splendid Legacy

Book Chapter
Values build and strengthen a legacy in families. This chapter from Splendid Legacy 2: The Guide to Creating and Re-creating Your Family Foundation shares ideas to get you started with your foundation’s values, or revisit the ones that you have now as part of your own family legacy.

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 …

Raising Children with Philanthropic Values

Report
Develop an understanding of your own values, starting with your “money values.” We all have beliefs about money. Affluent parents may have more difficulty clarifying these values since there are so many choices they can make available to their children. Wealth counselors offer a variety of tools to help people …

Why Did I Make All This Money: Values And Ethics In Family Foundations

Book Chapter
Donors who create successful family foundations generally begin by addressing three kinds of issues. The first are immediate and worldly- tax consequences, legal relationships, and family involvement, public visibility, and so forth. The second are a pair of searching issues that every donor must answer: Why did I make all …

The Giving Commitment: Knowing Your Motivations

Report
This guide offers a brief overview of reasons why people engage in philanthropy. Part of the Philanthropy Roadmap series, the guide offers both experienced and emerging donors an opportunity to take a closer look at what motivates them to give. They can use this knowledge in turn to help create— …

A Compass Only Works when You Trust It

Article
Like a compass, values guide us toward decisions that align with who we are. But a compass only works when you trust it. When you find yourself surrounded by disruptive activities, I encourage you to call on your values and find direction in them.

Living Your Values: Stories from Families

The Evolution of Family Philanthropy: The David Rockefeller Fund

Blog Post
The name Rockefeller often conjures up images of wealth and influence. The founders of Standard Oil and magnates of the banking industry, the family is known worldwide for generations of success in business and politics. However, since 1855 when John D. Rockefeller, Sr. gave his first philanthropic gift, the family has …

The Brinson Foundation’s Commitment to Living Its Values

Article
Since its creation in 2001, The Brinson Foundation has focused in the areas of education and scientific research in order to create a world where all people are valued and committed to improving the world in which we live.

Four Ways Values Inspire and Ground Our Grantmaking

Blog Post
Courtesy of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation One reason many families create foundations is to pass down philanthropic values through the generations. My grandparents founded the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation to support the issues they cared most deeply about and also to ensure that the specific values they …

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 …

Gratitude and Humility in Philanthropy; from a Story, to a Value, to Action

Article
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. When we are able to connect our founders’ values to real-life stories, it can have a profound impact on our …

Sample Policies and Practices

Philanthropic Values of The Rockefeller Cousins and Fifth Generations

Sample
This statement outlines the philanthropic values of the Rockefeller family’s cousins and fifth generations: Think long term Keep every topic within the larger context Serve effectively within communities Manage resources effectively Participate enthusiastically Nurture family through generations Maintain unity Respect diversity Be willing to take risks Maintain importance of …