Fundamentals of Family Philanthropy Webinar Series

father, son, and grandfather skipping stones - traditions, generations, family cutlure

The monthly Fundamentals of Family Philanthropy webinar series provides guidance on the core tenets of effective family philanthropy—from motivations and values to governance, grantmaking, and succession. The series equips giving families with the latest information on evergreen topics in the donor lifecycle through practical takeaways and diverse family stories that illustrate important practices. Designed for seasoned practitioners and newcomers alike, the series is available to our Friends of the Family and Partner Subscriber organizations.

Philanthropic Purpose

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 families engage in social impact strategies without intentionally identifying aims and naming collective values. In this webinar, learn how to facilitate productive conversations on motivations for giving, strategies for translating shared values into action, and how to successfully carry forward values across generations.

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Family Identity and Culture

Many philanthropic families have a strong sense of identity, defined by their traditions and culture and carried out through their commitments to one another and the public trust. A clear family identity is driven by a shared purpose and philosophy, which in turn promotes a successful collective giving effort. How do families understand their shared purpose and ensure it faithfully guides them in their work? What is the role of the individual in relation to the collective? How does culture affect the approaches that families employ? Learn how families cultivate their philanthropic identity and nurture a family culture that reflects a shared sense of purpose.

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Impact Vehicles & Structures

Beyond the Private Foundation: An Exploration of Vehicles

The practice of family philanthropy is evolving and so too are the structures that social impact practitioners employ to accomplish their objectives. However, a number of questions remain on the minds of philanthropic families. What are the available vehicles that promote social impact? How do families leverage multiple vehicles successfully? What is the role of a private foundation in relation to other vehicles? Learn about the range of structures that advance the objectives of philanthropic families, explore the fundamental considerations, and understand how a portfolio of complementary vehicles may promote success.

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Governance

Effective Governance: Principles, Policies, and Practices

Family philanthropy is rooted in the act of collective decision making—one that is often codified in a formal governance structure. But what is governance and how can a family adopt its framework to effectively guide their philanthropy? Governance consists of three elements—principles, policies, and practices—that define who makes decisions and how decisions are made. Families that are intentional about developing a governance framework are better prepared for decision making and can work more collaboratively together. Learn about effective governance structures and explore the principles, policies, and practices necessary to ensure good governance in a family philanthropy effort.

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Demystifying Decision Making

Philanthropic families employ a wide range of models to make decisions—from unilateral authority to consensus. However, identifying the appropriate structure is often a challenge and can serve as a barrier to effective philanthropic practices. Developing an appropriate decision-making framework for distinct situations allows families to rely on an established and agreed-upon process to find a solution smoothly and expediently. Learn about the range of models that philanthropic families adopt to guide their giving and explore how to promote a healthy, open, and honest culture of communication across a family philanthropy effort.

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Impact Strategies & Tools

Building a Social Impact Strategy and Approach

Grantmaking is the fundamental element of a family philanthropy effort. The practice of grantmaking actualizes the motivations of a donor, advances their values, and accomplishes their aims and objectives. However, it requires careful planning and consideration. A family must decide on focus areas, articulate desired outcomes—near- and long-term—and identify the appropriate partners. And how you fund matters just as much as what you fund—getting input from community members, utilizing trust-based practices, and being responsive to current needs are all important elements of successful grantmaking. In this webinar, learn practical guidance for how to build or refresh your grantmaking strategy and approach.

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Assessment & Learning

Grantee Relationships and Power Dynamics

Power dynamics are inherent in traditional philanthropy: a funder gives and a grantee receives. This imbalance has the ability to inhibit productive, honest partnerships and stymie successful outcomes. It is often difficult for a grantee to discuss their needs and concerns when their financial future is on the line. Funders must acknowledge these dynamics with grantee partners and learn how to responsibly navigate positions of privilege and power. In this webinar, learn how to build authentic relationships with grantees through trust-based practices and other approaches that will reduce power imbalances and lead to more effective partnerships.

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Impact, Measurement, and Evaluation

Impact is often an elusive concept in philanthropy. What is the most effective way to monitor grants? How do families define and measure success? What is the burden on grantee partners and how might it be mitigated? Successful family philanthropies employ a formative framework for impact that typically involves a process to define the sought-after change, an alignment of grantmaking practices to the desired end-result, a strategy to monitor and evaluate progress with grantee patterns, and a reflection on how to leverage impact. In this webinar, learn how to adopt a formative approach to measurement and evaluation and explore the considerations for high impact philanthropy.

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Operations & Management

Scaling for Success

The success of family philanthropy is largely dependent on the operations and management of the people and processes that underpin the goals and activities of the effort. Giving families often reach an inflection point where they must consider bringing in outside professionals to manage their philanthropy for greater impact; however, it is often challenging to understand the practices that promote success. How do you develop the strategy and systems needed to maximize impact? When does a philanthropic effort require staff and what are the considerations for hiring? And what is necessary to build effective operations and reporting? In this webinar, learn how families have scaled their operations strategically for impact.

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Adopting Equity Practices

There is an increasing recognition and understanding of the deep-seated structural inequities upon which the philanthropic sector and many other systems were built. Donors are moving away from the idea of racial equity and social justice as funding areas, and instead conceptualizing equity as a lens that spans grantmaking, governance, and management and operations. In this webinar, learn how to apply a racial equity lens to internal and external practices, how to discuss equity with staff and board, and explore resources for continued reflection on privilege, bias, and power.

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Succession & Legacy

Engaging the Next Generation

The promise of family philanthropy is fulfilled by its members—often across multiple generations, which can pose a challenge. Multigenerational families use a variety of techniques to engage the next generation in philanthropy. Successful participation depends on a number of considerations, including how to promote learning, empower next generation family members, and offer leadership positions. In this webinar, learn how to strategically engage the next generation in family traditions, legacy, and culture, and explore when and how to promote formal philanthropic engagement at different ages and stages in the development process.

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Succession Planning and Family Transitions

Change is inevitable and can be especially complex in family philanthropy. There are a number of questions to explore to ensure the success of a collective giving effort. What are the anticipated moments of transition? What are the plans to navigate accordingly? Who is best suited—and prepared—to lead the family philanthropy effort moving forward? Is there a clear plan for succession and healthy transitions? In this webinar, learn how families have managed successful transitions and explore the necessary steps to prepare the family philanthropy for the inevitability of change.

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