Although the term is used widely, there is no standard definition of family philanthropy in the research literature. Nor is there a standard definition of family foundation, because this type of entity is not part of the Internal Revenue Service’s legal classification system for nonprofit organizations and foundations.

In practice, however, family foundation typically connotes the active involvement of donors or members of the donors’ family in the foundation. This definition becomes increasingly difficult to measure—especially over time as the original donors die and as donors’ descendants exhibit various levels of involvement with the foundation.

For the NCFP’s 2015 Trends Study, our research partner, the Urban Institute, relied on the Foundation Center’s definition of family foundation, which uses a multistep process to identify and to classify foundations as family foundations. This methodology includes self-designation by the foundation, computer searches to identify potential family members listed on the foundation’s board or leadership staff, and other matching strategies.

Check out NCFP’s “I am family philanthropy” series for videos of donors and family members discussing how families are making positive impacts on the communities and issues they serve.

Contributions

The Future of Family Philanthropy: Positioning Families for Greatness

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Nicholas A. Tedesco

winding road_path_journey_future
Philanthropic families are expanding their impact, knowledge of the field, and becoming increasingly sophisticated in their giving. There is further demand for philanthropic guidance and resources as donors and their families leverage multiple philanthropic vehicles, engage the next generation, and look to increase their payout rates or even spend down. NCFP President and CEO Nick Tedesco has spent the last… Read More

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

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

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

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

Legal Office Hours

Posted on April 27, 2020 by Bryan Del Rosario

In partnership, the Council on Foundations and NCFP are offering office hours for family foundations. We know some family funders are entering new giving spaces in light of COVID-19 and are navigating the legalities of doing so. Engage in a Q&A discussion with your peers and COF attorney Bryan Del Rosario. Share top questions for legal review when you register… Read More

Engaging Youth Peer Network: Youth and Next-gen COVID-19 Giving

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Eesha Vettical, Allison Hale, Rebecca Riccio, David Weitnauer

Attendees at a Youth Philanthropy Connect event
Youth and next-gen givers are an integral part of our foundation’s futures, and many are interested in helping during the current crisis. COVID-19 provides a unique, albeit unfortunate, opportunity to engage youth in decisions around crisis response funds. Learn how peers are engaging youth in these decisions and values conversations, broaching delicate topics, and nurturing empathy… Read More

Collaborative Philanthropy in the Time of COVID-19

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Tony Mestres, Elizabeth Cousens, Judith Monroe, Gabrielle Fitzgerald

people putting jigsaw puzzle together
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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