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Top 5 Starting Places for Family Foundations and Donors

By: Michael Moody, Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy These five resources in the LearnPhilanthropy Knowledge Library are ideal starting places for grantmakers involved in family giving in some way – as a trustee or staff of a family foundation or a donor-advised fund, as an individual donor, as a consultant or family advisor, etc. This list also points to some of the primary infrastructure organizations serving family grantmakers, and each source has multiple other resources for family donors who want to dig further. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors: Your Philanthropy Roadmap – The “Philanthropy Read more





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Co-Creation: Viewing Partnerships Through A New Lens

“Co-Creation” is a series of case studies about the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The case studies, written by Patricia Bowie, examine co-creation, an emerging systems change collaboration model which grew out of a funder-and-state partnership. This unique partnership led to the creation by executive order of a new and independent Office of Early Childhood, which was formally approved by the Connecticut State Legislature in 2013.





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Beldon Fund Evaluating Impact

The Beldon Fund relied heavily on independent external evaluations to make early and mid-course corrections to our program strategies and to develop benchmarks to measure progress. EXTERNAL EVALUATIONS Each assessment includes a summary of key findings as well as the full report. Evaluation of Beldon’s Program Strategies PDF A qualitative evaluation, based on confidential interviews, of the impact of our program strategies. Beldon Grantee Perception Report PDF Anonymous survey of Beldon grantees. Beldon Grant Applicant Perception Report PDF Anonymous survey of Beldon grant applicants. EVALUATION BENCHMARKS Evaluating Policy Advocacy Grant-Making Strategies





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Beldon Fund Programs and Strategies

BELDON’S GRANT MAKING PROGRAMS Beldon made long-term grants in two program areas: Key States and Human Health and the Environment. A third program, the Discretionary Fund, allowed the foundation to take quick advantage of policy opportunities or respond to new environmental threats. It also provided a way to fund cross-program advocacy tools and activities. GRANT MAKING STRATEGIES With only ten years to help environmental advocates shift from playing defense to positioning themselves to win policy victories, Beldon developed three main strategies: Build Capacity and Clout Support Civic Engagement Broaden the Base of Support GRANT MAKING PRINCIPLES Beldon’s program work was guided Read more





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Private Foundation

A tax-exempt entity legally defined under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, distinguished from “public charity” entities covered in that same section. Private foundations usually get their funds from a single primary source such as an individual, family, or corporation. The category is further divided by the IRS into “operating” and “non-operating” foundations, with the majority of foundations being the latter (including corporate, family, health conversion, and independent foundations) and pursuing their charitable missions primarily through grantmaking or other philanthropic investments. Many private foundations keep funds in an endowment, though some are “pass through” entities, and they can be Read more

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Independent, Non-Operating Foundation

A type of private foundation – with assets usually derived from a single source – that has grantmaking or other philanthropic investment as its primary focus, rather than operating programs, but that cannot be classified under other types of private foundations such as corporate, family, or health conversion. Many independent foundations were once family foundations but transitioned away from direct family influence or involvement at some point.

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Family Foundation

While there is no legal nor widely accepted definition of what qualifies as a “family” foundation, the term is usually applied to a class of independent, non-operating private foundations in which: the mission and giving continues to be strongly influenced by the intent of the founding donor(s), the founding donor(s) or familial descendants play some governance role in the foundation (e.g., as trustees or even staff), and the assets come from a founding family or individual. However, some public foundations, operating foundations, and other types have these qualities as well so can be considered family foundations. Many independent foundations began Read more

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Donor-Advised Fund

A fund established – with an initial gift and perhaps subsequent gifts from one or more donors – at a nonprofit public charity which then (for a fee) invests the money and manages the process of making grants from the fund as advised by the donor(s). The most common sponsors of DAFs are community foundations, charitable arms of for-profit financial institutions, and certain national host organizations. DAFs are not subject to the same legal rules at private foundations and are considered gifts to the public charity managing the fund even if the money is then re-granted as “advised” by the Read more

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National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

The Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, an accreditation program created by community foundations for community foundations. They are peer-driven, voluntary, and self-regulatory.  





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Staying the Course: How a Long-Term Strategic Donor Initiative to Conserve the Amazon Has Yielded Outcomes of Global Significance

This article examines how the design principles of a major philanthropic initiative have influenced its performance, and provides a practical example of strategic philanthropy that can contribute to the current debate over the merits and flaws of this approach.





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The Philanthropy As One Big Impact Investment: A Framework For Evaluating A Foundation’s Blended Performance

This article proposes a framework for evaluating a foundation’s blended performance that enables both grantmaking and endowment investing to be evaluated jointly, and thus also allows a complete evaluation of how impact investments could improve — or fail to improve — overall performance.







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Marguerite Casey Foundation: Reflecting on 15 Years of Philanthropic Leadership Through a Summative Evaluation

This article presents the findings of a summative evaluation of the Marguerite Casey Foundation that was conducted on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. The evaluation was designed to gauge stakeholders’ perceptions of the foundation’s operations to facilitate organizational learning. In sharing these results, the authors seek to elucidate the role of evaluation as a learning practice within the field of philanthropy.





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Foundations as Network Strategists, Weavers, and Managers: Learning From One Foundation’s Journey and Results

This article shares insights from a five-year evaluation of the Oral Health 2020 network, an effort by the DentaQuest Foundation to align and strengthen efforts in service of a national movement to improve oral health. The evaluation helped to place the foundation’s journey in the context of a broader field seeking new approaches to achieve deep and sustainable social change.





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KIDS COUNT Data Center

KIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state project of the Casey Foundation to track the status of children in the United States. By providing foundations, policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions of ways to secure better futures for all children.





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Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising

The George H. Heyman, Jr. Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU’s School of Professional Studies offers courses and intensive study options for fundraisers and grantmakers, professional development, and conferences and events designed to provide information on the latest industry trends and developments.





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Philanthropy Roadmap Guides

The Philanthropy Roadmap campaign is a series of brief guides designed to introduce you to the world of thoughtful, effective philanthropy. Published by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, it’s a roadmap for donors — individuals, couples, families or groups, offering an overview of issues that philanthropists may want to consider as they create their own giving strategies. Your Philanthropy Roadmap Next Gen Philanthropy Funding Locally Launching Your Own Major Project Giving Strategically After Disaster Impact Investing, An Introduction Impact Investing, Strategy and Action Supporting Social Entrepreneurship The Rockefellers Women and Giving Talking to Your Family About Philanthropy Making Change Happen Major Gifts Read more