Meetings Matter: How to Plan Effective, Efficient, and Enjoyable Meetings

Posted on September 27, 2021 by Janice Simsohn Shaw

Why do family foundation board meetings matter? And when should you have them? This guide outlines why it’s important to have productive meetings, reasons you should have a meeting, and how to plan and facilitate great meetings. Author Janice Simsohn Shaw shares tips for running a smooth meeting, including considering the purpose, outcomes, process, and people involved.  … Read More

The Family Governance Pyramid: Enhancing and Guiding Your Family Philanthropy

Posted on July 14, 2021 by Patricia Angus

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… Read More
Voices from the Field

Strengthening Your Board’s Decision-making Process

Posted on July 13, 2021 by Ann Shulman

Courtesy of Thirdman from Pexels This blog post is excerpted from the new Passages Issue Brief: Demystifying Decision Making in Family Philanthropy How does your Board of Directors make decisions? Do you gather around a table with a clear, concise packet of relevant materials, a well-prepared agenda that spells out which decision-making process will be used, then calmly discuss various proposals… Read More

Demystifying Decision Making in Family Philanthropy

Posted on June 10, 2021 by Ann Shulman

This Passages Issue Brief examines the kinds of decisions that family foundations often face and sets out practical, easy-to-apply guidelines for ensuring that the foundation’s decision-making methods vary appropriately, as conditions and circumstances change. It includes factors to consider when selecting a decision-making method, guidance on how to communicate clearly, simple tools to help make good decisions, and short case… Read More

Common Decision-making Dilemmas

Posted on June 10, 2021 by Ann Shulman

This is an excerpt from Demystifying Decision Making in Family Philanthropy. Do any of these common decision-making dilemmas sound familiar to you or your family foundation board? One board member, often a founder or parent, wields more influence than the others, but the influence is not explicitly acknowledged; Board members go along with a vote just to get the decision over… Read More

Decision Making when Founders are Present

Posted on June 9, 2021 by Ann Shulman

This is an excerpt from Demystifying Decision Making in Family Philanthropy. Founders accustomed to making their own decisions in a business setting may bring unilateral decision-making to the foundation, often using it inappropriately. Founders may think of the foundation as “theirs” and feel impatient with or dismissive of group decision-making. At the same time, they genuinely want family members to… Read More
Voices from the Field

Legacy in Family Philanthropy: A Modern Framework

Posted on May 20, 2021 by Janice Simsohn Shaw

Courtesy of Monstera From Pexels This blog post is excerpted from NCFP’s new report Legacy in Family Philanthropy: A Modern Framework Historically, legacy in family philanthropy has been considered from a retrospective point of view. From an external vantage point, legacy has often been seen as the sum philanthropic impact of a family, the culmination of its efforts. That is,… Read More

Legacy in Family Philanthropy: A Modern Framework

Posted on May 16, 2021 by Shira Saperstein, Janice Simsohn Shaw

Adult hand holding child's hand - legacy
Legacy is a fundamental consideration in the practice of effective family philanthropy, yet it remains one of the most ambiguous and often overlooked concepts in our field. Many families approach legacy with a retrospective lens—one that reflects on a philanthropic effort across a number of years or even generations. However, legacy is emergent and iterative. It ought to be considered… Read More

Learning from Each Other: The Dyson Foundation

Posted on January 5, 2021

Note: The following are excerpted from essays written by Anne E. Dyson, M.D. and Robert R. Dyson; they were originally published in the 1996 and 1997 annual reports for The Dyson Foundation and re-released in 2001 as part of NCFP’s Living the Legacy guide. Celebration of a Life: From the 1996 Report He left quite a mark on this world,… Read More

Honoring the Founder: The Meyer Memorial Trust

Posted on January 5, 2021

Note: This essay was written by Charles S. Rooks and originally published in the Meyer Memorial Trust Annual Report, 1994-1995); it was re-released in 2001 as part of NCFP’s Living the Legacy guide. The 1994-95 Fiscal year was the last one in which the Trust was governed by its original five trustees. In May, slightly over 13 years after the… Read More