Family Foundations as Agents of Change

We often hear media reports on the contributions and impact of super-sized grants and mega-foundations. But data and experience tells us it’s the presence and consistency of small- and medium-sized family foundations that provide much of the fuel for nonprofit organizations in our communities. Family foundations are uniquely positioned to serve as leaders in community problem-solving. Because their board members and staff have typically grown up, raised families, and built businesses in the communities they serve, family foundations provide insight into community challenges and their potential solutions. By tapping into their personal and professional relationships, as well as a deep understanding of local issues, family foundations of all sizes can play a crucial role in efforts to solve complex issues. The National Center explores “Family Foundations as Agents of Change” in their 2009 installment of the Passages issue paper series.