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Rethinking the funding equation: Can general operating support become the new normal?

Nonprofit leaders are raising their voices on the issue of operating support. While I stood silent as a professional working at Treehouse, today’s leaders are starting to speak up about the great need for unrestricted funding. Vu Le, a Seattle nonprofit leader, has received national recognition for his humorous, spot-on blog that contains several posts about this issue. Yet with all of this momentum, why does general operating support still account for only a relative fraction of all grantmaking?





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Site visits: A useful tool for effective and engaged grantmakers

For some families, the site visit is the penultimate act before a grantmaking decision is made. They narrow down the number of grantees to a few that have made the greatest impression, or seem like the best fit for their mission, and use the site visit as a final criterion. Site visits can also help families to evaluate how well a grant already awarded is working in accomplishing the philanthropy’s goals. Visiting grantees, in an open and un-intimidating manner, can help you gauge the impact your grant is having on a given issue or organization, and to maintain ties to Read more





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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.