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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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Should we be afraid?

At the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy blog, posted his five ‘scariest’ trends in philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends, we wondered, or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? We asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. In spite of Callahan’s injunction to ‘be afraid’, few of them seem inclined to quake in their boots, even where they see similar tendencies Read more





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What can philanthropy do for Syria?

The war in Syria is now in its fourth year. It has cost over 200,000 lives, put 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country (USAID) and displaced 10 million, more than 3 million of whom have fled abroad as refugees. All of this has earned Syria a number of unappealing superlatives: ‘the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era’ (UNHCR); the creator of the ‘worst refugee crisis since the second world war’ (The Economist); and the world’s ‘worst crisis for children’ (UN). With a few notable exceptions, however, western philanthropists have not engaged in Syria.





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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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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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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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Annual Board To-Dos

What’s on the agenda for your board this year? Are you covering the bases of good governance? Below, we offer a checklist of annual board to-dos—prepared for foundations that are up and running (not start-ups). *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only  





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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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How Can We Offer Health Insurance

In our 2008—2009 Foundation Operations and Management Survey Report, ASF reported that 63% of the responding foundations have paid staff, including board members who work as staff. An estimated 67% provide their full-time, paid employee(s) with health insurance while 39% provide dental insurance; while 26% provide their part-time, paid employee(s) with health insurance and 13% provide dental insurance. You might consider looking into the following resources.







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Keeping Good Records: Small Foundations’ Guide to Staying Organized

Discover how to organize, archive, and protect your important documents. Includes: The costs of recordkeeping — in money and time; what to keep and for how long; advice on establishing a records management system and records retention policy; how recordkeeping can help you fulfill your mission and program; audits; what records you must share with the public.





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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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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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Beyond Compliance: The Trustee Viewpoint on Effective Foundation Governance

Beyond Compliance is based on the largest-scale research on foundation boards ever conducted and builds off CEP’s earlier governance report, Foundation Governance. This report reveals the foundation trustee perspective on effective governance, which despite the variety in size and function of grantmaking boards, has five essential factors. MORE The report offers data and findings to help trustees and CEOs utilize foundation governance optimally, with information ranging from racial composition of boards to the amount of information board members read.





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Essentials of Foundation Strategy

What separates more strategic foundation leaders from less strategic ones? This research explores the state of strategy at foundations today and identifies behaviors and practices common to more strategic leaders. Case studies and interviews included in the report highlight strategic best practices.





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Three Cases of Better Corporate Philanthropy – Nike, Goldman Sachs, and Intel

Given that companies are putting more than $14 billion a year into charitable causes, measuring results and ensuring real social impact should be important goals. A few corporate leaders are realizing these goals, including Goldman Sachs, Nike and Intel. MORE To do this they apply the same discipline to their charitable work that they do to their core business — insisting on strategic focus, investing at scale and measuring results.





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Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results

In Give Smart, Thomas J. Tierney pools his hands-on knowledge with philanthropy expert Joel L. Fleishman to create a much-needed primer for philanthropists and the nonprofit organizations they support. Drawing from personal experiences, testimonials, and Bridgespan’s case studies, including those of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Give Smart picks up where Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors left off and presents the first in-depth, expert guide for engaged donors and nonprofit leaders.





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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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The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards

Exceptional boards add significant value to their organizations, making discernible differences in their advance on mission. How does a board rise to this level? Are there standards that describe this height of performance? The Source: Twelve Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards defines governance not as dry, obligatory compliance, but as a creative and collaborative process that supports chief executives, engages board members, and furthers the causes they all serve. The Source enables nonprofit boards to operate at the highest and best use of their collective capacity. Aspirational in nature, these principles offer chief executives a description of an Read more





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Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

Our all-time bestseller with over 175,000 copies sold, this book not only explores the board’s 10 core responsibilities, it also puts them into the context of the governance challenges facing nonprofits today. We clarify and distinguish the board’s responsibilities from those of the chief executive and senior staff. In addition, it includes two appendixes, one covering the individual responsibilities of board members and the other providing a sample self-assessment for individual board members.





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Nonprofit Governance Index

Since 1994, BoardSource has been conducting the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index, a one-of-a-kind national survey of nonprofit chief executives and board chairs. The Governance Index is the only national survey to gather information from both chief executives and board chairs on their experiences in the boardroom. The Index identifies trends in board composition, policies, and practices as well as provides a detailed view of the challenges nonprofit boards are facing as they conduct their work.







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Customizable Training: Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of the Nonprofit Board

BoardSource offers dynamic, highly interactive governance workshops on a variety of topics for your next conference, meeting, retreat, event, or training. Each of our live training programs can be customized to meet the unique needs of your organization, to adhere to time constraints or format preferences, and to appeal to different audience sizes. The Governance as Leadership workshop takes a look at the three modes of governance — fiduciary, strategic and generative — that together enable board members more meaningful, consequential work resulting in better governed organizations. With a focus on generative thinking, the most neglected work of a board Read more





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Board Recruitment Center

BoardSource members and nonmembers alike can access BoardSource’s Board Recruitment Center to find out how to effectively recruit board members. Building a board is about finding leaders who have skill sets and perspectives that align with an organization’s strategies, goals, and needs. It is also about having the right blend of skill sets, expertise, community connections, diverse perspectives, and spheres of influence across the board as a whole. BoardSource members can take advantage of free board recruitment job postings on LinkedIn’s new Volunteer Marketplace.This new board posting service allows nonprofits to find the highly qualified and enthusiastic people needed to Read more





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The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives

One of BoardSource’s best-selling books, The Nonprofit Board Answer Book provides answers to the most-commonly asked questions about governance.This book is a hands-on guide for board members, chief executives, and others who are charged with leading their organizations. Board members will learn how to be more effective in dealing with everyday challenges; chief executives will gain insight into how to build a strong partnership with their board. We include information on topics that have recently increased in importance, including the new Form 990, dealing with the financial crisis, risk management, and strategic partnerships. Designed to be user-friendly, it is written in an Read more





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Understanding the Strategic Decision-Making Behavior of Community Foundation Boards

How do community foundation boards employ strategies that allow them to remain responsive to multiple constituencies (grantors, grantees, community representatives and providers of fiduciary oversight) while steering their organizations with accountability and authority? In March 2004, with a grant from the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund and additional support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, BoardSource and Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs set out to answer that question.





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The Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Board Chairs

For board chairs seeking practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job. This training program will help you become an exceptional board leader — one who not only understands his or her roles and responsibilities but who also is a generative and strategic thinker; who asks questions and seeks knowledge to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and threats that affect today’s nonprofits; who empowers the board to move forward and build organizational capacity.





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The Essential Responsibilities of Foundation Chairs

Few, if any, roles are more significant in ensuring a foundation’s success than that of the board chair. This may be why many people find assuming this position a daunting prospect. And yet the successful businessperson who serves as chair of a family foundation dedicated to a cause that was dear to his parents’ hearts or the community leader who serves as chair of an independent foundation that provides deserving youth with life-changing opportunities will tell you that few roles are more rewarding. The accomplishments of a foundation that is wisely and conscientiously led can provide its board chair with Read more





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The Certificate of Nonprofit Board Education

For new and potential board members as well as staff and consultants who are new to working with a board. This program is offered through a series of webinars or through a live course. At the conclusion of this certificate program, you will have gained insights, tools, and materials that further your understanding of nonprofit board governance; developed a network of peers for the exchange of information and mutual support; and examined approaches, assumptions, questions, and practices regarding good governance.







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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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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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Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing. A Policy and Implementation Guide for Foundation Trustees

The goal of this guide is to provide foundation trustees and, where or when appropriate, staff with a process to create both an overall policy for mission-related investing as well as specific paths for implementation.





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Reframing Assessment of Grantee Perceptions: Reconsidering Effectiveness With Broader International Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is important in philanthropy because it allows grantmakers and grantees to pool their respective resources more effectively to address their shared target issues. As more and more foundations and other grantmaking entities venture into the expansive world of self-evaluation, it is prudent that these methods be examined in light of international funding relationships. In order to better understand how these tools and methods can be used internationally, we outline the opportunities presented when using frames as one basis for decision-making in complex situations. Using the hypothetical case of a U.S. funder seeking to understand grantee perception in East Read more