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Module 3: Unit 5

Successful board participation

Family foundation boards are unlike any other board—with complexities and attributes that can be challenging and rewarding.

There are a wealth of resources to support your successful participation — here’s a few to get you started.

Read (10 minutes)
From the Balcony: Perspectives and Reflections on Trusteeship Several timeless tips from NCFP President Virginia Esposito on advancing healthy and highly functioning family foundation boards.
Read (15 minutes)
Qualities of the good trustee In this excerpt from his landmark book, "Foundation Trusteeship: Service in the Public Interest," John Nason explores the essential elements for effective board service.
Read (15 minutes)
Your guide to youth board involvement This publication provides an analysis of key legal issues regarding young people under the age of 18 who serve on boards of directors. Youth on Board helps bridge this gap between adults and youth by providing practical information, training, support, and opportunities for them to build a relationship - the all-important "how-to's" that can be key to the success of young people as community leaders.
Read (15 minutes)
Board membership orientation materials Read these board member orientation materials to gain some beginning insights on what being an effective board member looks like.
Read (30 minutes)
Families in flux: Guidelines for participation in your family's philanthropy With families growing ever more complex, varied, and far-flung, foundations and donor-advised funds need clear guidelines regarding who participates in their philanthropy and in what roles. This Passages Issue Brief addresses changing family composition and circumstances and how philanthropic families may deal with them.
Read (90+ minutes)
Polices for engaging the next generation and extended family An increasing number of family philanthropies around the country have developed proactive and thoughtful policies regarding how to engage, educate, and incorporate the interests of the next generation and extended family into the lifeblood of the family's philanthropy. Included here are board nomination and application forms, orientation handbooks, sample board member training programs, and much more.
Tune-in (5 minutes)
So you want to be a family foundation trustee? This short video, produced by NCFP with the support of the Merck Family Fund, offers a quick, fun, and informative look at the issues to consider when thinking about joining a family foundation board.
Do (90+ minutes)

TEI-group-discussion-featureNCFP's Trustee Education Institute

Completing the activity: Interested in a comprehensive overview of the key legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members? Attend NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute, the only training seminar designed specifically for family foundation boards.

Do (90+ minutes)


Check out BoardSource

Completing the activity: BoardSource is a national organization that works with foundations and nonprofits to promote effective governance. You can join as an individual or as part of an organization and access resources, trainings and a network of like-minded leaders.