Discretionary Grants: Engaging Family… or Pandora’s Box?

If you asked at a gathering of family foundation folks whether using discretionary grants is a good idea, you’d never reach consensus. Many family foundations don’t use them. Those that do have widely varied policies governing how much money is available, who is eligible to make the grants, and whether the grants must be within the foundation’s mission and guidelines.

A decade ago, the National Center for Family Philanthropy wrote a Passages issue paper to examine family foundation practices around discretionary grants. For this Passages, we revisit the subject to see if trends in the use of these grants are changing. anecdotally, we know that some foundations cut back on their discretionary grantmaking budgets when the economy weakened. others have begun using them as a way to engage a new generation of board members. But what else is new with discretionary grants? it’s time for a fresh look.

This Collection

Governance Essentials

Trusteeship is — first and foremost — a very personal commitment to a public trust. This Content Collection provides both introductory resources as well as more detailed looks at many of the most important aspects of foundation governance.

See Collection

Get Involved

Search Knowledge Center for Resources!

We’re here to help you on your philanthropic journey. Contact NCFP for support!

Get Assistance

Keep up with trends in family philanthropy. Subscribe to our newsletter!

Signup

Family philanthropy improves the quality of life for all. Join our family!

Join Now