2018 Trustee Education Institute: The Signature Seminar for Family Foundation Board Members

Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10:00 AM until Thursday, March 8, 2018, 01:45 PM EST
3 days
Who should attend

The Trustee Education Institute is designed and offered exclusively for current and prospective family foundation board members. Check out the agenda below.


Register Now!

NCFP's Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive introduction to all of the key legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members. Featuring a faculty made up of NCFP's senior staff and highly respected philanthropy experts, this three day, intensive seminar will cover:

  • What does it mean to be a steward of both the public’s trust and your family’s legacy?
  • How do you bring your personal giving identity to the foundation’s collective grantmaking?
  • What are the qualities and responsibilities of effective trustees and exceptional boards?
  • How do you navigate family dynamics at the board table?
  • What essential legal rules do you need to know, and what are the more difficult ethical issues you may confront over time?
  • How can you grow into a leader for your family’s philanthropy and get the most from this truly special opportunity?

See the complete draft program below!



2018 Trustee Education Institute Agenda

Please note speakers, sessions, times and locations are subject to change.

Tuesday, March 6th

11:30 – 12:00 pm  |   Registration & Networking

12:00 – 1:15 pm  |  Welcome & Progressive Lunch
Get acquainted with colleagues from around the country as we rotate tables for each course. Facilitated by staff NCFP for easy introductions.
• “Salad Days” – Our Families’ Beginnings
• “Meat of the Matter” – Our Foundations and their Mission
• “Just Desserts” – Our Desires for the Workshop

1:15 – 3:15 pm  |  Good Governance: The Foundation Imperative
Virginia Esposito, President, National Center for Family Philanthropy and Alice Buhl, Senior Fellow, National Center for Family Philanthropy
Governance is a moving target – but nothing is more important to a family foundation’s overall success than good governance. Bring your own questions and dilemmas to this interactive conversation with NCFP’s president and senior fellow on the policies and practices of effective – and excellent – family foundation boards.

3:15 – 3:30 pm  |  Break

3:30 – 5:30 pm  |  Mission-Driven Assessment
David Grant, Author, "The Social Profit Handbook: The Essential Guide to Setting Goals, Assessing Outcomes, and Achieving Success for Mission-Driven Organizations"
Assessing the work of your foundation and board should not be considered optional – assessment provides you with a sense of where you need to shift gears, where you need to invest additional time and resources (including where your investments have paid off!), and where you need to step back and start over again. Learn about a variety of available tools and checklists for assessing your board.

5:30 – 6:00 pm |  Networking Break

6:00 – 7:00 pm |  Dinner Networking Discussions
Prior to our opening evening program, join peers who share your interest in specific grantmaking interest or strategy areas for a meal to share challenges and ideas, and to identify effective approaches to your work. Topics will be assigned by table and participants will RSVP in advance to be part of specific discussions

7:00 – 8:00 pm  |   Promising Partnerships: Bridging Power Divides to Achieve High Impact Philanthropy
Ashley Blanchard, Vice President and Nathaniel Chioke Williams, Executive Director, Hill-Snowdon Foundation. Facilitated by Virginia Esposito, President, NCFP
Join this thought provoking conversation with the CEO and board member of a DC based family foundation known nationally for innovation and outsize impact. Learn how Hill-Snowdon has fostered meaningful relationships across traditional power divides including: board/staff, senior/next generation, black/white and grantor/grantee.

Wednesday, March 7th

7:45 – 8:15 am   |  Breakfast Buffet

8:15 – 10:30 am  |  Fiduciary Responsibilities and Legal Pitfalls
Andrew Schulz, General Counsel, Arabella Advisors
Grasp the fundamentals (and complexities) of federal and state law regulating foundations including self-dealing, payout, fiscal agency, excise tax, and much more. Arcane concepts made accessible – and fun – by one of the nation’s leading experts on family foundation tax law.

10:30 – 10:45 am  |  Break

10:45 – 12:00 pm  |  All Things Numbers: Finance, Investments, 990s, and Moore!
Richard "Skip" Moore, Former CEO, Weaver Foundation
Understand the financial oversight responsibilities of foundation trusteeship and get introduced to the basics of foundation investment. Also leave this session with an overview of key financial facts to review through audits and form 990s. And more!

12:00 – 12:45 pm  |   Networking Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 pm  |   Avoiding Avoidance: Managing Family Dynamics
Dr. Stephen Treat, Founder, Council for Relationships
Conflict is neither inherently good nor bad. Conflict will always occur in an organization that’s growing, evolving, and changing. In this session participants will explore typical situations where families might find themselves falling into the avoidance trap, and identify useful strategies for “avoiding avoidance” and other related tips and tools for managing family conflict.

2:00 – 2:15 pm   |   Break

2:15 – 3:45 pm   |   Breakout Sessions

Option #1: Avoiding Avoidance
Dr. Stephen Treat, Founder, Council for Relationships
Continue the lunch conversation and brainstorm solutions and approaches to your own family dynamics’ challenges.

Option #2: Impact Investing
Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Threshold Group
Payout requires you give 5% of your assets annually to further the foundation’s mission. Get a “soup to nuts” introduction on investing the remaining 95% to do the same! Explore how to allocate assets, write an investment policy, conduct research and choose an investment manager to align with the foundation’s values.

3:45 – 4:15 pm   |   What’s on your mind?
Talking about adding non-family trustees to the board? Wonder if board compensation is wise? Unsure how to tackle geographic dispersion or whether to offer discretionary grants? Want to get clarification and hear from others about issues you are grappling with or have another question that hasn’t been answered yet? Now’s your chance!

4:15 – 5:15 pm    |   Break

5:15 – 6:30 pm    |   NCFP Open House! – 1667 K St., NW Suite 550
Relax with light refreshments while on a “site visit” to NCFP’s new offices. View our History of Family Philanthropy Timeline and add your own memories and key historical moments. Friends of the Family are welcome to book our board room for DC meetings free of charge, come and see! Only 5 minutes by cab, or 15 on foot.

6:30 – 8:00 pm   |   Optional Dinner Discussion: Imagining the Future
June Wilson, Former Board Member and CEO, The Quixote Foundation and Neil Sumilas, National Center for Family Philanthropy
Given the challenges in the world, and the changing philanthropic landscape, how do you see the field changing? What new tools, strategies and collaborative initiatives should be focused on moving forward for families, practitioners, and advisors? What would excite and engage you personally in our collective efforts and community? Join this hosted dinner conversation hosted at NCFP's offices and help NCFP plan for the next 20 years. RSVP Required: Limited to 10 Participants.

6:00 – 8:00 pm   |   Dine-A-Rounds (Optional)
Join fellow TEI participants for a no-host dinner at one of Washington’s notable restaurants near the Institute hotel and/or NCFP Offices.

Thursday, March 8th

Note:   Ask the Lawyer consultations will be offered on Thursday.

8:00 – 8:30 am    |   Breakfast Buffet – Café 9
Enjoy an informal breakfast with your peers or catch up during a busy couple days of programming and travel.

8:30 – 9:45 am      |   Ethics in Family Philanthropy
Mary Phillips, President, GMA Foundations
This interactive case-study session will feature an exploration of common ethical dilemmas in family giving, and leave you with a clear framework for addressing real-life dilemmas you will face.

9:45 – 10:00 am     |   Break

10:00 – 11:45 am   |  Learning Together: Planning an Effective and Fun (!) Board Meeting
Holli Rivera, CEO, Intentional Philanthropy and Hanh Le, Executive Director, Weissberg Foundation 
Board meetings can serve a variety of purposes, including information sharing, decision-making, learning, and team building. The one thing all effective board meetings have in common is thoughtful planning that includes a clear articulation of purpose, desired outcomes, and the process that will be used to achieve those outcomes. And guess what? Intentionally building fun into your meetings can often help meet your objectives. In this hands-on session, participants will learn a simple framework for planning effective—and fun—board meetings, key components of good meetings, and helpful meeting planning resources. And everyone will walk away with a clear plan for an upcoming meeting on their calendar!

11:45 – 12:00 pm   |   Break

12:00 – 1:30 pm     |   Learning Lunch:  Power, Privilege, Transparency, and the Public Trust
June Wilson, Former Board Member and CEO, The Quixote Foundation and Kelly Nowlin, Trustee, Surdna Foundation
What does it mean to be a family foundation board member in today’s world: How do you balance your commitment to the donor’s legacy and the family’s shared vision with the immediate needs of the communities you serve? How do you manage the power and privilege of your position as you work with communities and grantees on the front lines of systems change? How can you “show up” in meaningful ways at board meetings and ensure you and your foundation are accountable to the causes and communities you serve? And what is your responsibility for sharing what you’ve learned with others? Join this timely and essential conversation with two leaders grappling with these and other related issues.

1:30 – 1:45 pm   |   Break

1:45 – 3:15 pm   |   Breakout Sessions

Option #1: Bridging the Power Divide
June Wilson, Former Board Member and CEO, The Quixote Foundation and Kelly Nowlin, Trustee, Surdna Foundation
How can you as a person of privilege address the power imbalance that exists between funders and nonprofits? How can your board build a more honest and collaborative relationship, while also supporting other funders in building more authentic relationships with their grantees? This conversation will feature practical tips for bridging the power divide with your grantees.

Option #2: Engaging Children, Teens, and Young Adults in Family Philanthropy
Leticia Peguero, Executive Director, Andrus Family Fund and Lindsey Griffith, Vice Chair, Andrus Family Fund
What are successful strategies for engaging children, teens, and young adults in multi-generational family philanthropy? Learn tips and techniques from one of the nation’s oldest and most innovative family foundations.

3:15 – 3:45 pm   |   Wrap Up – Carolinas
Gather together for a last chance to ask questions that have come up, share your own lessons learned, and be inspired on the next steps of your journey!



Event downloads

What participants said:

Attending NCFP's Trustee Education Institute has given me more confidence in my role as a new board member of our foundation. I feel I have the proper information and invigoration now to go forward as a efficient and constructive member of the board. Thank you so much!

Jackie Hendrickson, Trustee, Sewell Family Foundation

Excellent speakers rotate through a well designed agenda. This is a comprehensive program, touching on most everything on trustees' minds. The icing on the cake is the open forum inviting discussion of topics that had not been addressed.

Barbara Braun Schoenfeld, Co-President, Sand Family Fund
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