Pursuit of Excellence: A 2009 Report on Practices in Family Foundations

Seven years of in-depth research on multigenerational family foundations resulted in the book Generations of Giving: Leadership and Continuity in Family Foundations, the first ever study of the organizational life and development of family foundations. That work led to the development of an assessment process for family foundations called Pursuit of Excellence, and also to the Family Foundation Survey of Current Practice (described in this report). Prior to 1999, philanthropic research lumped family foundations together with all private foundations in research studies. Today, thanks to our work with, and our funding of, the Foundation Center to develop a process for identifying family foundations from among all private foundations, that major segment of philanthropy is extensively researched, analyzed, and reported on. We are delighted that our groundbreaking publication, Family Foundations: A Profile of Funders and Trends (2000), continues today in the form of Key Facts on Family Foundations, published annually by the Foundation Center. In that same vein, we present this report to enhance further understanding of family philanthropy among families, the philanthropic field, government officials, the media and the public.