Demystifying decision-making in family philanthropy
Board members, staff, advisors, and donors in family philanthropy.
How do you make decisions related to your family’s philanthropy? Does the method you choose vary based on the importance or complexity of the decision? Different kinds of decisions made under varying conditions and circumstances may require different decision-making methods. This webinar features Ann Shulman, an attorney, mediator, and advisor to family foundations, and author of NCFP's Passages Issue Brief, "Demystifying Decisionmaking in Family Philanthropy," along with leaders from two family foundations who will share several alternative approaches to making decisions in family philanthropy.
Click here for an excerpt from the webinar featuring Ann Shulman discussing the range of decision-making methods available to family foundation boards.
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Ellie Frey Zagel is 3rd Generation, Vice Chair and Trustee of her family’s foundation the Frey Foundation based in Grand Rapids, MI. For nearly a decade she has been deeply involved in working with the next generation of family business, family philanthropy, and family wealth, first as Director of the Family Business Alliance and now as President of Successful Generations, a company she recently founded.
Lori Kuhn is the first executive director of the Morgan Family Foundation in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a position she has held since 2004. She oversees all activities of this private foundation including grantmaking, investments, communication and administration and works closely with the board members to achieve their philanthropic goals.
Previously she served for seven years as the director of statewide projects and regional programs (northwest region) with the Ohio Grantmakers Forum in Columbus, a regional association of approximately 200 grantmakers. In this capacity she organized conferences and workshops; conducted research on philanthropy in Ohio; and provided information, advice, referrals and strategic planning for foundations. Lori spent eight years in the community foundation field prior to this, as the first executive director of The Springfield Foundation and as Donor Relations Officer with The Dayton Foundation.
A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Lori holds a B.A. in elementary education from Antioch College and has served on a number of nonprofit boards, committees, and task forces.
Ann Shulman is a facilitator, mediator and trainer with twenty years of organizational development experience. Ann uses her expertise in facilitation, conflict resolution and intra-organizational communications to help foundations and non-profits deal with internal design and operational challenges – from planning and operation of meetings and retreats, to dealing with staff reductions and interpersonal conflicts on the Board of directors.
Ann has extensive experience in leadership curriculum design and delivery, having trained the leadership and staff of organizations ranging from Fortune 100 and 500 companies to top-ten foundations to academic institutions to small family foundations and local community groups; she also serves as a professional executive coach as well as an organizational effectiveness consultant. Ann brings an international perspective, having worked in over a dozen countries. She is the former President of the Northern California Mediation Association, spent four years as the Executive Director of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, is on the Board of Directors of the West Marin Fund, directs her own family’s charitable fund, and has served on the board or as board chair of many nonprofit organizations.
Ann earned her B.S. in Psychology from Duke University, her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, and her LL.M. in International Law from the European University Institute. She is currently on the faculty of the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco where she teaches courses on facilitation.
What participants said:
Each presenter gave several useful guidelines for making board decisions.
Anne set the tone, and with the other speakers bringing in personal family stories around the topic, the right balance was set and the trading of ideas was exceptionally inspiring.
Great mix of practical theory, tools, and examples.
Learn about communicating the decision process prior to beginning the discussion, determining a fall back if the chosen method doesn't work, and use the IT FITS tool.
I learned helpful strategies for difficult decisions and conversations.
Helpful ideas for my family foundation: Making clear what the decision making process is; Reaching consensus can be a goal, but it's okay to have a fall-back plan; and Trump cards - interesting way to think about "sacred cows."