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Better Together: Realizing the Promise of Collaboration in Family Philanthropy

Unique challenges arise, and unique opportunities open up, when family donors get involved in collaborative work in philanthropy. This report explores those special challenges and opportunities, and offers a set of recommendations for how to realize the promise of working better together. The insights here are based primarily on in-depth dialogues about family philanthropy collaboration that occurred during the third National Summit on Family Philanthropy, held in New York City in June, 2015, and hosted by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy.





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Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

The philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more





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2015 CONNECT Conference

Take a leap forward in your philanthropic journey. Whether you’re looking to challenge your assumptions or hungry for practical knowledge, CONNECT offers something meaningful for everyone. Find inspiration in sessions that explore innovative strategies for advancing philanthropic impact or immerse yourself in sessions on philanthropy’s fundamentals. Strengthen your effectiveness, get inspired, and build community. In an intimate setting, CONNECT offers a safe, empowering space to build critical skills and knowledge while forming real, lasting relationships with peers and other experts. We bring together our welcoming staff, field thought leaders and expert partners to facilitate connections and weave networks through a Read more





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Master Juggler Executive Institute

Leadership development for foundation executives June 21-December 30, 2015 At Exponent Philanthropy, we know some things about you. You are committed to serving your foundation, your board, and your community. You make it a priority to leverage the most from your time and money. And you often put others first, not always getting around to investing in yourself and your professional development. With you in mind, we developed the Master Juggler Executive Institute, a carefully crafted 6-month program for those in the most senior staff role at their foundations. Program Highlights A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations Read more





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Discovery Timeline

The Discovery Timeline provides a web-based opportunity to learn more about the history, events, and decisions of Discovery – the primary initiative of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. You can start with a broad overview and note contextual events during each time period. Then, read descriptions of key foundation decisions. You can also access evidence-based and reflective findings from the “learning and results boxes.” The “also of interest box” to the right is updated periodically as new information is made available.





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The Future of Jewish Giving

Jewish funders have, over many generations, built a Jewish nonprofit infrastructure that is considered a model across the United States and beyond. Will this infrastructure be sustained in the coming decades? Research has shown that Jews in the next generation are becoming less interested in formal religious practice and are distancing themselves from Israel. What does this mean for Jewish philanthropy? Will the next generation, which is more interested in informal experiences of Jewishness, continue to fund Jewish life? How does coming of age in an American society largely free of barriers to inclusion influence interests and involvements? We know Read more





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The Future of Family Philanthropy – Predicting and Preparing

The future of family philanthropy is an uncertain one, with dramatic changes taking place both in families and in philanthropy itself. But along with the uncertainty comes possibility and excitement; along with future challenges there are energized new donors and emerging innovations that could improve family giving in ways few would have predicted just a few years ago. Based on the candid peer conversations and insights from thought leaders that were offered during two “National Summits” on family philanthropy, this brief envisions the changes in the field, and suggests ways to adapt family giving for a better future– a future Read more





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Next Gen Donors Report

The Next Gen Donors research project is a collaboration of 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. The next generations of major philanthropists, who fit into “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) or “Gen Y/Millennial” (born 1981-2000) generational cohorts, will wield more philanthropic power than any previous generation. With an unprecedented amount of wealth, these donors hold the future of philanthropy in their hands, yet, until now, there has been little previous research on the powerful but very private group of young people who stand to become the major donors of the future Conducted in 2012, this report is based on first-of-its Read more





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Family Foundations

Many tales from the family foundation frontlines. Lots of cartoons supporting stories of challenging family dynamics en route to matching funding decisions to personal values. First person descriptions of decision-making styles both affirming and autocratic; conflict between generations; upsetting the family order. Also, stories of family foundations structured to welcome input from all who wish to participate, foundations reorganized and given to community leaders, and creative cooperation in finding areas to fund.





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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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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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A Hedgehog Moment: The Roles and Pitfalls of Strategic Philanthropy for Family Foundations and Donors

The growing quantity of giving has not been matched by improved quality. The growth in the quantity of new philanthropy and the search for more effective philanthropy has now produced a “significant moment in the marketization of philanthropy.” A recent outpouring of books by foundation officials, consultants and academics has broadly emphasized the idea that “strategic philanthropy” in some form promises significant improvements. With these books, then, do donors, family foundations, and philanthropy generally have new usable knowledge to meet the challenge of quality grantmaking?





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The Family Difference? Exploring the Congruence in Grant Distribution Patterns Between Family and Independent Foundations

Using a broad group of family and independent foundations from a representative sample of Georgia foundations, the authors examined differences in giving patterns between family and independent foundations. Findings confirm the result of previous work that studied large foundations. There are no substantial differences between family and independent foundations’ preferences even when controlling for a nonprofit’s location and size. These findings are relevant for discussions about the role of non-family members on boards.





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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. The greatest challenges for family foundations with dispersed boards involve assembling an appropriate staff, ensuring strong communication between staff and board members, and focusing the organization’s mission. Maintaining family board member interest in the foundation’s geographic area and bridging and strengthening ties between generations were also concerns. In order to maintain family legacies, all case-study foundations found unique ways to overcome challenges and were deliberate in ensuring that board members stayed actively engaged in the Read more





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What Is a Family Foundation?

Family foundations are important institutions, making up a significant portion of the foundation universe and having both local and global impact. Yet we have no shared definition of this diverse and evolving category. Clarifying the definition will help challenge persistent misconceptions, get perspective on the diversity, and improve foundations’ understanding of their own family dimensions. This article surveys the different definitions of family foundation that are, and have been, used by key organizations in the field and by researchers. It also reviews examples of the variations and complicating factors that make answering the title question difficult. A single or simple Read more





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Ten Ways for Family Foundations to Consider Diversity and Inclusive Practices

This guide is designed to help foundations consider how more diverse and inclusive practices might advance their mission by making their work more effective and more reflective of communities served. By highlighting 10 ways family foundations can approach diversity, this guide seeks to spark ideas and launch further dialogue.







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Family Foundation Events

The Council of Michigan Foundations sets aside a section of its website to provide descriptions and videos from a variety of Family Foundation Events. There are examples of networking opportunites and educational programs for family foundations. Event highlights and links for more information are offered for further exploration.







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From Generation to Generation

Family foundations are often led by family members, generation after generation. But no one is born with the knowledge to run a foundation. In order to ensure smooth transitions, or at least minimize challenges, some critical points must be addressed in the very structure and practice of the family foundation. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only





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Growing Through Giving

The WHH Foundation, a California based ASF member, has taken a particularly thoughtful approach to engaging its third generation family members, ages 8 to 27. The foundation is managed by a volunteer board led by its founder, and is staffed by part-time executive director and family member, Bernadette Glenn. Recently, ASF spoke with Bernadette and Molly Purnell, age 25, who chairs the foundation’s next generation group. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only





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Involve Children and Teens in Your Foundation

Ingrid Fox, advisor to the junior board of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, compiled these ideas for involving teens in philanthropy. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only





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School, Work, Family, and Foundation Too

As young adults pursue degrees, settle into careers, and start families of their own, participation in a foundation can be far from the top of a to-do list. But this stage of life can be a wonderful time to be involved in the work of a foundation—a rewarding change of pace and a chance for new perspectives, ideas, and enthusiasm at the foundation table. Whether you’re a young adult excited about becoming involved in your family’s foundation or a family member hoping to engage the next generation, where do you start? *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only





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Philanthropy FAQ: 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.





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Giving Toolkit: Risk More/Transform your giving into an adventure

When we encourage givers to “risk more,” what we really mean is, “Let your giving become an adventure!” Does this appeal? If your giving often feels just routine, or burdensome, or anxiety-producing, perhaps you’d like to venture outside your habits and try something really different and better for yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started. This exercise invites you to step outside your current giving style.





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Giving Toolkit: Risk More/Kevin and Hannah Salwen’s Story

Kevin and Hannah Salwen share their story – why they sold their dream house and moved “to a home half the size, giving the price difference, more than $800,000, to charity. Half for us, half to try to make the world a little better.” Read why they think everyone can find something in their lives they have more than enough of, whether it’s time or treasure. Just gather your family or community, figure out your half and go for it.





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Giving Toolkit: Inspire More/Public or Private? The Empowered Choice

The choices we make about being public or private donors depend on the intricate web of factors that define our own lives. For some, the “right” choice is to be blatantly “out”; for others, it is to be intensely private; for still others, it’s a middle ground – more open in some contexts, more private in others. The key is to choose in an empowered way-with deliberate and aware intention, so that other people’s opinions, your own fears and emotions, societal pressure, or circumstances beyond your control are not making your decisions for you. So how do you, personally, decide? Read more





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Giving Toolkit: Inspire More/Explore a variety of ways to inspire the giving of others

No matter how much money or how little money you personally have to give, you can increase your impact a thousand-fold by inspiring the giving of others. (Look at Bill Gates! Even he felt that his best contribution would be to encourage his peers to give, and so he started a 50% Giving Pledge for his fellow billionaires.) We’ll help you explore a variety of ways to inspire the giving of others: Talk about giving with people you know Give openly rather than privately Learn to fundraise Share your giving story Be a public promoter of giving





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Giving Toolkit: Give More/Quick Experiments in Bolder Giving

Many donors have asked us for quick-and-easy ways to experiment with giving levels. Although we advise people to systematically consider their current and future financial needs, we know that not everyone will make time for such a thorough process. Here, then, we share some of the giving experiments that creative givers have tried. We illustrate each option as though implemented by a fictional character: Julia Harlow, single, age 32, freelance software consultant with net earnings of $50,000 a year who also inherited $1.4 million from her grandparents. (Your financial situation may differ dramatically from hers, but some of the ideas Read more









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Effective Giving

It takes time and experience to learn how to give effectively, but the journey can be fun and rewarding. In this issue, people with surplus income talk about what they’ve learned about giving–what’s satisfying, what’s hard, what makes giving most effective. You’ll hear from “ordinary people,” as well as well known philanthropists. From Steve Kirsch, large-scale venture capitalist with his own multi-million dollar foundation, to Wayne Muller, who advocates giving small and simply on a local scale, this issue invites you to explore the range of available options –and find out what giving effectively means you.







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Private Foundations May Advocate

While private foundations incur a prohibitive tax when they engage in or fund advocacy, they may still engage in a variety of advocacy activities. This fact sheet explains how private foundations can engage in a variety of advocacy activities.





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Ready to Learn: Family Philanthropy Supports Early Learning and Literacy

Highlights some of the latest research on early childhood development and education, and profiles several family foundations and communities working for change in this area. It discusses quality child care and learning, and offers tips for getting involved in funding and resources to learn more.





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Place-Based Philanthropy: Investing in Community Change

Families engaged in philanthropy may view their giving through a variety of lenses. Some pay particular attention to the family’s legacy of giving, some focus on a particular issue or cause, and many choose to limit their grantmaking to a specific city, state or region. A growing number of family foundations have taken this commitment to geographic location to another level, and made the strategic decision to engage in place-based philanthropy, dedicating the majority of their giving and personal involvement in a specific community.







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Conflicts of Interest: Steering Clear of Potholes and Other Bumps in the Road

Most family foundations prefer to focus on the business of giving, without having to worry about tripping over the sometimes obscure rules and regulations that govern this work. But the fact is that family foundation boards need to be aware of potential potholes on the road named philanthropy. Driving blind down this road can get you into trouble. One potential pothole is real or perceived conflict of interest, a topic frequently misunderstood, and often confused with self-dealing.





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Changing Your Grantmaking Lens: Aging as an Asset

Do you view older adults in your community as a valuable and perhaps untapped asset… or as a population in need of increased philanthropic support? Based on interviews with family funders active in this important, complex and diverse funding area, the answer is a little bit of both, but more of the former than you might think.





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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, and realigning the foundation’s strategies and/or programs as necessary.





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The Power to Produce Wonders: First Ever Report to Examine the Value of Family Participation in Philanthropy

Based on two years of research, this report is the first ever in-depth examination of the value of family philanthropy to the family, to communities and to democracy.





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Best Practices Study: Children, Youth and Family Philanthropy

This report highlights the considered experiences and views of leading children, youth and family grantmakers across the U.S. concerning key insights they have gleaned about practices that either advance or impede diversity in areas ranging from governance and staffing to grantmaking and contracting. The presentation includes a summary of key findings concerning various practical aspects of promoting and managing diversity that readers should find especially valuable.