Becoming a Successful Board Chair: Tips and Advice from Your Peers
Board members, staff, advisors, and donors in family philanthropy.
Board chairs play an important and indispensable role in family foundations. Much more than just an honorary title, serving as board chair requires extra preparation, time, and specific skillsets. Join NCFP as we learn from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation Board Chair and President about the wide range of tasks and responsibilities facing board chairs, including overseeing board meetings, succession planning, managing family dynamics, and grantmaking strategy. This conversation will be introduced and moderated by NCFP’s Senior Fellow Alice Buhl who brings a wealth of knowledge to this topic from her work with hundreds of family foundations over the past 30 years. We will also feature new insights from the upcoming release of Splendid Legacy 2: Creating and Re-Creating Your Family Foundation.
Susan Briggs is a retired estate planning attorney, having been a partner in the international law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP for more than 30 years. She is a retired fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, an inactive member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of San Francisco. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California Berkeley and her J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Susan is the Chair of The Flora Family Foundation, a private charitable foundation the stated purpose of which "is to promote the wellbeing of people everywhere by supporting selected activities of charitable organizations and institutions as determined by members of the Board and Family Council." She is Vice Chair of The Diana Dollar Knowles Foundation, a private charitable foundation which supports the arts and other activities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Alice Buhl is Senior Fellow to the National Center for Family Philanthropy and its Board of Directors. She was a founding board member of the National Center for Family Philanthropy and led the development of the “Pursuit of Excellence” assessment process. Alice is a Senior Consultant for Lansberg, Gersick & Associates.
Nancy J. Cable serves as president of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Nancy previously served as vice president and interim president for Bates College. A recognized national leader in higher education, Nancy is known especially for her achievements in widening access to higher education for students from all walks of life. Nancy previously served as a vice president at Guilford College and held several administrative and faculty positions at Denison University. A native of Ohio, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College, a master’s in education from the University of Vermont and a doctorate in educational history from the University of Virginia.
Dow Davis was elected as Chairman of the Board in 1997 succeeding his father Nathanael, who was President of ALCAN and served as the Chairman of the Foundations for 33 years. (Nathanael was a nephew of Arthur Vining Davis and had been a trustee of the Foundations during the founder’s lifetime.) Dow was formerly Executive Director of the Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He spent much of his early career in the financial services industry, marketing and management positions in the U.S. and abroad (Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund; Senior Vice President, Fleet Bank/Bank of New England; Vice President, Bank of Boston; Managing Director, Boston Financial Ltd/First Leasing Australia [Bank of Boston]). Dow was a Captain in the US Army and served in Korea. A graduate of Middlebury College, he has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Dow is married to Sue Davis, a speech and language pathologist.
What participants said:
NCFP consistently and brilliantly presents the very best education to family foundations and donor advisor funders. Though I actively participate in educational opportunities with many organizations in the philanthropic center it is those offered by NCFP that drill deeper into issues, savor the nuances of family grantmaking and produce products that motivate and inspire in an all embracing understanding of families and the dynamics that challenge them.
The Family Philanthropy Webinar series is a wonderful resource, allowing us to "attend" sessions from all over and to share materials with other members of our foundation. The transcripts of the sessions are also a valuable resource. Thank you for these Webinars.
NCFP webinars are an effective way for me to be stimulated and educated. I always expect excellent presenters and up to date information from NCFP, and have not been disappointed with these webinars. The recent one discussing women and philanthropy was very timely as women grow in their capacity and leadership roles in philanthropy. Thank you NCFP!
The National Center has been an indispensable source of wisdom, tools, and best practices for my clients on matters ranging from advancing intergenerational leadership transition strategies to building effective websites to creating discretionary grant making guidelines.
These webinar events are the most valuable as part of our SECF membership... we access current experts on the topics pertinent to family foundations...and we remain in our office!.... no travel expenses or conference fees... and we can access this information at a future time for our Board. A win-win for all of us who are so busy but are eager to stay current and networked.
I have attended many of NCFP's webinar and always walk away with new ideas that expand my knowledge of family philanthropy. The content is always amazing, well-structured and full of different perspectives. I especially love the stories told by presenters of their families journey within philanthropy and how they are impacting communities.
Creating Effective Next Gen Boards was by far the best webinar I have experienced. The material was well put together, well presented, easy to follow, and very engrossing! The youth on the webinar were very articulate and experienced and provided a unique insight into the benefits and pitfalls in involving 8 year-olds and up in family philanthropy, i.e. the younger we start, the better and easier it is for everyone! Thanks for this webinar!
I have participated for years in the Family Philanthropy Webinar Series, which has been a tremendous value-add for our subscription to NCFP Friends of the Family! This just keeps getting better and better with each passing month, and I'm so very impressed with the caliber of presentations and the organization behind them! Best webinar series in the field!