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.

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Contributions

The Future of Family Philanthropy: Positioning Families for Greatness

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Nicholas A. Tedesco

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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

Opportunity of a Lifetime 2.0: Multigenerational Family Philanthropy

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Kylie Musolf, Danielle LaJoie

More than ever before, giving families are working to involve multiple generations in their philanthropy. According to the National Center for Family Philanthropy’s Trends in Family Philanthropy Study, nearly 3 in 5 U.S. family foundations engage younger family members in the foundation — and more than 40 percent say they expect to add to or increase the number of younger-generation… Read More

Consider the Coconut: Moana and Family Philanthropy

Posted on March 28, 2017

Catchy doesn’t even begin to describe Disney’s Moana. It’s got all the makings of a great children’s movie — beautiful animation, quirky sidekicks, and the classic “coming of age” tale.  But Moana isn’t any typical “coming of age” story! What makes her unique also makes her a great model for intergenerational philanthropy. Hear me out… The first song is essentially… Read More

How Social Justice Giving Honors Our Roots and Strengthens Communities – NCRP

Posted on July 21, 2016 by National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

In this paper, we offer a snapshot of family philanthropy as it often is practiced today, including what makes traditional family philanthropy different from other forms. It is our hope that our suggestions will be considered when developing strategy, both by family funders for whom our research rings true, and for those whose experiences differ. … Read More

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