Finding common ground, valuing different views
Families and foundation boards across the country wrestle with diverging values, various religions and different political persuasions. While always a concern, divergent opinions come into sharper focus as the nation heads into the 2012 election year. In this candid, behind the scenes look at two family foundations, we explore strategies and techniques to promote civil discourse.
Bobbi Hapgood is the founder of Philanthropic Ventures, a consulting firm specializing in family foundations and nonprofit development. Prior to starting Philanthropic Ventures, she spent eight years as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, a regional association of over 100 local, regional, and national grantmaking foundations. Bobbi has also worked as program director, development director, and media consultant to several nonprofit organizations, including Rachel's Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Voices & Choices of the Central Carolinas and the Center for Child & Family Health. Bobbi has also served or is serving as board member and advisory to other foundations and nonprofits, including over 24 years as a trustee of The Educational Foundation of America where she currently serves as Vice President and Chair of the Environmental Grant Committee. She also serves as an Advisory Board member for Environmental Defense Fund and an Advisory Council member of Playmakers Repertory Company.
Christopher Renner is the founder and CEO of The Prentice Group, a nationwide healthcare recruitment firm based in Medina, OH. He also serves as the current chair of the adjunct committee for the Educational Foundation of America.
Tony Macklin, a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, consults with donor families, grantmakers, and their advisors about purpose, use of resources, action planning, and learning. As executive director of the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, he facilitated changes in visioning, impact investing, grantmaking, trustee education, and back-office management. In twelve years at the Central Indiana Community Foundation, he led grantmaking initiatives, advised wealthy donors, attracted $39 million, and launched a social enterprise. Tony currently serves as program manager for the NCFP's Community Foundations Family Philanthropy Network. He also serves as a senior advisor to the Impact Finance Center and peer reviewer for The Foundation Review.
Terry Hunt, Ed.D., is a licensed psychologist who brings to his work an enthusiasm for personal and professional fulfillment in his clients’ lives. Terry maintains a clinical private practice in Boston, MA with individuals, groups, and couples with sub-specialties in addictive disorders and older adolescents. A third generation heir to the Alcoa Aluminum fortune, Terry endorses the perspective that building effective families and resolving inherent conflict resolution must take into account the psychological make-up of the individuals involved. Using both personal experience and professional training, Terry has consulted successfully to a number of families of means and prominence and also has worked with two internationally known musical groups. Using the Purposeful Planning model, Terry’s primary commitment is to achieving agreed upon goals anchored in shared family values, beliefs and traditions.
What participants said:
These teleconferences are the best education in philanthropy that one can find anywhere. Even for those of us with decades of experience they continue to reveal nuances and best practices that we can use in our grantmaking. Bravo to the National Center for setting the bar so high for us and then helping us achieve it.
This event exceeded my expectations. The speakers were candid and informative as well as practical and inspiring. I learned a lot.
Thanks for presenting two exemplary foundations with different approaches who continue to learn from each other. What a great message for all families.
It was a frank conversation with a number of practical recommendations. Rare.
- What I learned: focus on how many people will be affected by a grant rather than how it makes you feel - remove yourself from the equation and keep in mind the mission of the foundation.
- There are different ways to get to the same end
- Learn to trust and respect others on the board. Have a member of another branch of the family mentor new board members.
- Emphasive respect and openness to opinion of others. Leave personal ideologies at door, and developing qualitative criteria for judging requests.
- Establish governance procedures to minimize conflict in the board room.
- It can be very important to have a strong listening chair