10 Essential Roles of Foundation Board Members

As a board member, how can you make sure you bring your best to the table and bring out the best in your foundation? If you understand and embrace these 10 essential roles, you will help ensure that you are fulfilling your duties with wisdom and clarity — and doing your part to advance your foundation’s mission.

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10 Things Every New Foundation Board Member Should Know

This easy-to-use guide for new foundation board members provides an introduction to tools and knowledge essential in the first years of service on the board of a foundation.

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A Self-reflection Tool for Black Trustees on Foundation Boards

ABFE brings a point of view: Black trustees who sit at tables of power and influence have a unique opportunity to significantly influence outcomes for Black communities by “leveraging the trust” that they hold as trustees. A companion to ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities: A Framework and Agenda for Change, this tool discusses the unique role of Black trustees and opportunities for reflection as they fulfill their roles.  ABFE encourages the use of this tool as a way to make a difference for Black communities.

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Assessing and Advancing Foundation Transparency: Corporate Foundations as a Case Study

This article explores the mix of forces, such as a six-drivers framework, a tool for assessing foundation transparency internationally, and implications for foundation practitioners follow, which explain variability in good-governance standards and practices by charitable foundations.  

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Benchmarking Foundation Governance

Benchmarking Foundation Governance shares data and infographics on crucial topics related to foundation governance — including composition, member expertise, structure, involvement, and characteristics of meetings.  

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CEO Transitions in Family Foundations

Among the most important tasks that any board confronts is the choice of head staff person. If anything, this decision has even greater significance in family foundations. Whether the position is vacant because of the retirement of a beloved CEO or the departure of a problematic one, CEO transitions in family foundations typically have three major stages: clarifying the foundation direction identifying a suitable successor realigning the foundation’s strategies and/or programs as necessary

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Challenges and Strategies for Family Foundations With Geographically Dispersed Board Members

This article, based on interviews with leaders of 10 family foundations, investigates the impact of geographic dispersion on governance, administration, decision making, and grantmaking activities.  

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Competencies for Chief Executive Officers of Private Foundations

This publication codifies the job functions of the private foundation CEO and the skills and knowledge needed to perform these functions, referred to as competencies.

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Expert Q & A: How do learning needs and styles differ across generations, and how can family foundations teach philanthropy to the next generation?

By: Sharna Goldseker, Executive Director at 21/64 From your work across multiple generations in philanthropic organizations, what are you seeing as key learning needs? Much of the work we’ve been doing at 21/64 for the past twelve years coincides with research that shows each generation brings a unique set of values, skills, and experiences to the philanthropic table. The first key learning need is around values clarification, which we believe leads not only to better working relationships among funders but also to more effective philanthropy. Beginning to uncover one’s own values and learn what values motivate others is critical to bridging the generational divide. Often, Read more

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Foundation Board Basics

A grantmaking foundation is a charitable tax-exempt organization whose primary function is to distribute funds for charitable purposes. Private foundations are typically formed by individuals, families, or corporations. Regardless of whose generosity is benefiting worthy causes, a foundation needs a governing board (or a board of trustees as foundation board members often are called) because it is structured as a tax-exempt organization. In principle, the role of the foundation board does not differ from that of other nonprofit boards, but foundation boards have specific challenges.

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Foundations Don’t Know What They’re Risking

Critical gaps exist in philanthropy’s definitions of and approach to risk management. This article describes the scope of the problem and a framework for philanthropists to adopt risk-management practices that better equip the sector to address the challenges of our time.

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Governance Basics – Board Structure, Committees and Delegation, and Policies and Procedures

This webinar reviews some of the fundamental issues associated with board governance. Topics include: board structure (size and composition); the role of committees and the board’s ability to delegate; and the necessary policies and procedures every board should adopt. 

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Handling Conflict During Board Meetings

Since nonprofit board meetings depend on interaction among people with different values, perspectives, and communication styles, conflict is likely to occur. The impact of this conflict, however, largely depends on how it is handled. Use these key tips to manage conflict in your board meetings and ensure that all board members can have candid and productive discussions.

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How Do I Work with My Family to Achieve High-Impact Philanthropy?

Philanthropy offers an exciting opportunity to bring your loved ones together to support a common cause. However, getting the best possible results with your philanthropy and preserving the social bonds that are important to you can sometimes require trade-offs. The solution to this challenge lies in embracing the personal nature of philanthropy without letting things get too personal and emotional. Reading time 8 min.

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Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

United Philanthropy Forum’s first-ever 2017 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on the governance, finances, membership, services and programs, and operations of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs). Download the executive report — the full report is for members only.

Categories: Governance, Financial Stewardship

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The Trustee Handbook

Find detailed guidance on small foundation governance, grantmaking, tax and legal issues, and financial oversight and investments. Our most comprehensive resource for every trustee and board member. Includes: Updates on recent laws affecting small foundations; Sample documents to save you time and money; The requisite information for an effective trustee — all in one place.

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