Your governance structure determines who makes decisions, how these decisions are made, and how you and your board will act as stewards of your philanthropy’s assets. This structure also determines how those who do not serve on the board—family members, outside experts, nonprofit practitioners and the constituencies you serve—can play an important role in the life of the foundation. Clear policies regarding qualifications for board membership, board member job descriptions and nomination and removal procedures should govern family expectations and ensure that the board has access to the talent and resources it needs to succeed.

That’s why it’s so important not to under-invest in governance—the National Center’s Generations of Giving research project found that many philanthropic families make this mistake. Whether due to an intense focus on grantmaking or a desire to keep perceived “overhead” costs low, families often neglect governance issues to the detriment of their effectiveness. Whether choosing board members or training future trustees, be sure to spend sufficient time thinking about your options for effective governance structures. NCFP Senior Fellow Alice Buhl recommends creating a governance committee to monitor the structure, leadership and practice of your foundation that is similar to the one used to monitor investments.

Contributions

How Are You Managing Your Teams and Philanthropic Services Moving Forward?

Posted on June 1, 2020 by Tony Macklin

video conference call
As counties re-open, how has your foundation decided to balance in-office and virtual work? How are you modifying metrics and performance expectations in your donor service and development plans? And, how are you adjusting service delivery models through the end of 2020? In this peer exchange, we’ll collect insights through verbal responses, chat, and hopefully any policies or documents you’re… Read More

Supporting Youth and Next-gen Philanthropy: How to Get Started

Posted on May 28, 2020 by Vasser Seydel, Kimberly Myers Hewlett, Sammie Holzwarth

Durfee Foundation next-gen board meeting
Multigenerational families use different methods and techniques to teach the next generation about philanthropy. Successful future engagement depends on many considerations, including when and how to best inspire and empower next-gen family members. Please join us for a discussion that will explore a number of important considerations, including when, and how to introduce the concept of giving to your family,… 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

Intro to Adaptive Leadership: Leading in Times of Great Change

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

four paper boats with a red boat leading the way
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

Responses to DAF Grants and the Issue of Hate in Charitable Work

Posted on March 24, 2020 by Sutton Mora Hayes, Andrea Minadakis, Alix Derby Salkin, Whitney Feld

Arrow pointing both directions in desert
Community foundations across the country have initiated a variety of responses to the issue of hate in charitable work and DAF grants. Some foundations support donors regardless of the grantee, while some have chosen to screen grants and others have even created public policies. Regardless of the foundation’s policy, your peer foundations have made tough choices and engaged in relevant… Read More

2020 Trustee Education Institute

Posted on December 22, 2019 by Christopher Fletcher, Jennifer Davis, Robin Snidow, Laura Collins, Paul Liu, Greg Ratliff, Kathleen Simpson, Tamara Larsen, Dana Lanza, Shaady Salehi

past TEI attendees
Attendees, please visit the event website for the most up-to-date agenda and Zoom links. The website passcode was emailed to all registrants. NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive introduction to important legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members. Featuring a faculty made up of donors, board members, and highly respected philanthropy experts, this… Read More

The NCFP and LGA Collaborative Pilot Research Project on Philanthropy in Complex, Multi-Generational Families: To Integrate or Differentiate?

Posted on October 28, 2019 by Wendy R. Ulaszek, Ph.D., Kelin E. Gersick, Ph.D.

The largest and most complex exemplary philanthropic families now face many challenges beyond foundation operations. Increasing size, geographic dispersal, and psychological distance from the founders all contribute to the difficulty of finding ongoing roles for family members that satisfy both the individual’s needs for self-expression and authenticity and the collective need for buy-in to the collaborative process of the foundation… Read More

Get Involved

Search Knowledge Center for Resources!

We’re here to help you on your philanthropic journey. Contact NCFP for support!

Get Assistance

Keep up with trends in family philanthropy. Subscribe to our newsletter!

Signup

Family philanthropy improves the quality of life for all. Join our family!

Join Now