Family philanthropy structures, leaders, and goals are constantly evolving, just like the families they represent. The change that comes over time is to be anticipated, managed, and, if possible, embraced as an opportunity for renewal. The inevitable changes and transitions that come to family giving programs are too often spoken of in negative terms. As relieved as we are to make it from one challenge to the next, change is not something to be simply weathered.

Leaders will leave, and new ones will emerge. Priorities will shift. Families will move. Stock values will rise and fall. It’s all to be expected. Change comes with the territory. How your family initiates, manages, and responds to that change will determine the course of your giving and reveal your true legacy.

Emerging Family Leaders in Philanthropy: Navigating Cross-Generational Relationships and Cultivating Personal Leadership

Posted on February 10, 2022 by Ashley Duchossois Joyce, Ellie Frey Zagel

It can be challenging to be a leader in a family philanthropy context, particularly as a member of the next generation. How can you share your skills, expertise, or experience to add value to your family’s work and gain the trust of other board members? Join Ashley Joyce and Ellie Frey Zagel for a discussion about building leadership within family… Read More

Scaling Your Philanthropy

Posted on January 31, 2022

Chalkboard with graph that is increasing
Operational and Strategic Approaches for Growing in Scale and Impact The process of scaling can be a pivotal moment—it offers an opportunity to revisit the past and reinvent what is possible for the future. What are the special challenges facing family philanthropies that are preparing for—or in the midst of—a significant scale up in philanthropic assets? As your philanthropy reaches… Read More

Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation

Posted on October 26, 2021 by GrantCraft

This brief guide explains why grantmakers use theories of change to guide their questioning, unearth assumptions that underlie their work, establish common language, and develop strong action plans. Contributors to the guide also describe how a theory of change sets the stage for evaluation by clarifying goals, strategies, and milestones… Read More

Legacy in Family Philanthropy: A Modern Framework

Posted on May 16, 2021 by Shira Saperstein, Janice Simsohn Shaw

Adult hand holding child's hand - legacy
Legacy is a fundamental consideration in the practice of effective family philanthropy, yet it remains one of the most ambiguous and often overlooked concepts in our field. Many families approach legacy with a retrospective lens—one that reflects on a philanthropic effort across a number of years or even generations. However, legacy is emergent and iterative. It ought to be considered… Read More

Family Foundation CEO Retreat

Posted on February 12, 2021 by Betsy Erickson, Janine Mason, Michael Smith, Tina Runyan, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Bari Katz, Rob Reich, Shaady Salehi, Carmen Rojas, Diana Scearce

The role of a family foundation CEO is unique, often bridging generations of family members, community leaders, staff, advisors, and partners. Expectations can be challenging to meet and boundaries are sometimes vague and ever-changing. Success in this role requires a cadre of specialized leadership skills, particularly in these divisive and dynamic times. This 3-day virtual retreat, designed for both new… Read More

Succession Planning and Family Transitions

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Peter Myers, Mary Sobecki, Mary Phillips

hand giving set of keys to another hand - succession, passing the baton, transition
Change is inevitable and can be especially complex in family philanthropy. There are a number of questions to explore to ensure the success of a collective giving effort. What are the anticipated moments of transition? What are the plans to navigate accordingly? Who is best suited—and prepared—to lead the family philanthropy effort moving forward? Is there a clear plan for… Read More

Community Foundations Network Topical Call: Improving and Re-Envisioning Donor Experience

Posted on December 3, 2020

binoculars, future, imagine
Have you re-envisioned your client experience? Gather with your peers to dive deeper into the recent Community Foundation Workshop presentation by Julie Littlechild, “How Client Engagement is Being Disrupted.” Building off of Julie’s workbook, we will discuss how to move from satisfaction to engagement. Prepare to better support your donors at each stage of their journey. If you missed the… Read More

Death, Legacy, and Leadership Transition

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Elaine Gast Fawcett

The death of a foundation leader or senior family member is likely the most emotional change a foundation will undergo. Suddenly, or not so suddenly, family members and the board face grief and loss, and also an onslaught of financial, legal, and organizational issues. How can you plan ahead, as a foundation and as a family? And how can you… Read More

Community Foundations Network Topical Call: Holiday and Winter Family Meetings

Posted on October 5, 2020

How are you preparing for holiday and winter meetings with your donor families during this challenging and partisan moment? Donors are looking for guidance as they navigate uncertain times and a changing giving landscape. Join this safe, facilitated dialogue to talk with your peers about common strategies and important questions. Resources: Civil Conversations & Social Healing at The On Being… Read More

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence

Posted on August 30, 2020 by Council on Foundations, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Tony Macklin

Be sure to watch the recording of the related webinar. In partnership with the Council on Foundations, the National Center for Family Philanthropy is pleased to release Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence: Strategy Guide. How much should we spend? This is an essential question for foundations, and one of the most complex, particularly in moments of change or turmoil. This… Read More