How will you organize the work of your philanthropy? From obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status to making and evaluating grants, there is tremendous work to be done. Chances are, you’ve already chosen the vehicle—whether that’s a family foundation, a donor-advised fund, a supporting organization, a giving circle, or through the family business—so some of these management decisions are already made for you. But making the right management choices for your family, for your organization, and for the causes and institutions you care about can mean the difference between a fractured family making uninspiring grants and an energized family making grants that really make a difference.

Experienced family grantmakers advocate for an integrated approach to management, an approach that links the seemingly mundane activities of daily operations directly to charitable mission, legal requirements, and the founder and other board and family members.

A way to look at management as you launch your family foundation might include:

  • Managing in support of the charitable mission
  • Assessing what work must be done
  • Deciding how the work can be done
  • Determining where the work will be done
  • Identifying and securing the tools and resources you will need
  • Considering administrative expenses, and, most importantly,
  • Turning your management choices into real results.

Browse the reading below for additional information on getting the right people and the right resources for your philanthropy.

Are you a non-family CEO or staff leader in your organization? Check out our CEO Initiative and non-family staff peer network.

Contributions

The Materiality of Sustainability for Investors

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Cambridge Associates

Sustainability is increasingly material to investment returns. In this paper, experts from Cambridge Associates discuss five prominent trends that are likely to have relevant implications for investment portfolios over the long term. The five trends we highlight — climate change, multi–stakeholder driven society, resource degradation, demographic challenges, and technological revolution — all warrant attention from investors, even if they have… Read More

The Foundation of Good Governance for Family Impact Investors: Removing Obstacles and Charting a Path to Action

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Cambridge Associates

Family offices and family foundations are among those leading the movement to integrate values and investment strategy through impact investing. Families pursue impact investing for a variety of reasons, ranging from alignment with personal values and philanthropic goals to risk mitigation and long-term out performance to a desire to influence broader social and environmental challenges facing society. This paper from… Read More

Racial Equity Investing: The Time is Now

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Cambridge Associates

As we all grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic alongside widespread protests after the deaths of George Floyd and others, many asset owners are trying to determine how they can activate their investment portfolios to advance racial and social equity more broadly. In 2018, experts from Cambridge Associates reviewed the state of social equity investing, with a focus on racial equity… Read More

Pathways to Sustainable Investing: Insights from Families and Peers

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Cambridge Associates

Every day, wealth owners, families, and family office professionals start down the path of sustainability investing. This paper details the typical path these investors take, the questions many of them face, and the way that many of them successfully develop a winning strategy that generates both returns and impact. Based on observations over the years, we have developed a framework… Read More

All Peer Network: What’s the New Normal on Building a Budget?

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Michelle Knapik

calculator on budget paper
Whether you are in endowment protection mode or distribution stretch mode, constructing a 2021 foundation budget presents challenges and critical choice points. NCFP is hosting an informal peer conversation so CEOs, CFOs, accounting managers and related staff can share how they are thinking about balancing the dollars, values, social optics, and more. From practical matters such as approaches to 2021… Read More

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Peter F. Bird, Jr., Liz Sak, George Suttles, Nicholas A. Tedesco, Tony Macklin

“How much should we spend?” It’s an essential question for all funders, and an especially complex one for endowed private foundations. The answer of “around 5%” was never universal as foundations sought creative means of ensuring that assets would serve mission rather than the other way around. In recent times, the pressure to revisit payout has increased. Endowed foundations have… Read More

Trust-based Family Philanthropy

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Sarah Walczyk, Shaady Salehi, Ellen Friedman, Hanh Le

Trust-based philanthropy is being embraced by a growing number of family foundations as a way to alleviate power imbalances between funders and grantees while fostering more productive and informative relationships. Driven by the central philosophy that funders should approach grantee relationships as learning partnerships, a trust-based approach encourages multi-year unrestricted funding, streamlined reporting, and transparent and responsive communication. In this… Read More

Using an Equity Lens in COVID-19 Response and Recovery

Posted on May 6, 2020 by Dennis Quirin, Lori Villarosa, June Wilson

reflection upside down through lensball
The National Center for Family Philanthropy is dedicated to serving families who give and those that work with them. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are offering conversations on topics of interest to all philanthropic families associated with family foundations, donor-advised funds, family offices, and other philanthropic vehicles. For questions about this series, please contact Jen Crino at jen@ncfp.org… Read More

Mobilizing Change: Scenario Planning and Choice Making for a Better Future

Posted on April 27, 2020 by Alexander “Zander” Grashow

seven doors in a room - decision making and choices
NCFP has invited Zander Grashow to share some of the ideas, tools, and practices to help guide us through this adaptive chapter of our collective history. This two-part series will include content sharing, small group time with peers, large group reflections and Q&A. Attendance is not mandatory for both sessions, but together, they certainly build a more coherent set of… Read More

Grantmaking Strategies for Family Funders: Supporting Resiliency and Recovery

Posted on April 27, 2020 by Orlando Watkins, Diana Scearce, Karen Keating Ansara

plant growing out of asphalt
The National Center for Family Philanthropy is dedicated to serving families who give and those that work with them. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are offering conversations on topics of interest to all philanthropic families associated with family foundations, donor-advised funds, family offices, and other philanthropic vehicles. For questions about this series, please contact Jen Crino at jen@ncfp.org… Read More

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