The Family Governance Pyramid: Enhancing and Guiding Your Family Philanthropy

Family philanthropy is a very important expression of a family’s commitment to society. It is a high calling for a family that wishes to have an impact greater than their individual efforts alone could accomplish. A private family enters the public realm to visibly support the social contract—the combination of efforts by government, business, and eleemosynary organizations that hold society together. And, just as government and business require sound governance to do their work well, so too do families—and their philanthropy—owe it to themselves and society to be governed well. The Family Governance Pyramid provides a model and framework for philanthropic families that is even more relevant and necessary today than when it was first introduced nearly two decades ago. This article provides some perspective on why, and how, families can apply this model to their family and philanthropy, for the good of all.