Ten Essential Responsibilities of Foundation Board Chairs

FavoriteFew roles are more significant in ensuring a foundation’s success than that of the board chair. But many board chairs find the role daunting and lack understanding of what is expected of them. This 22-page resource will help new and seasoned board chairs understand their 10 essential responsibilities and gain practical tips for carrying them out. The responsibilities are adaptable to all foundation types: family, community, private/independent or unstaffed.

Categories: Governance

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2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report

FavoriteThe 2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report is based on the 17th operations and management survey of members of Exponent Philanthropy that was fielded in summer 2017. The 2018 edition of our flagship report includes mission-critical statistics about member foundations’ boards and governance, investments, administration, and grantmaking. It also includes the latest benchmarking data on salary and benefits.

Categories: Human Resources Management, Governance, Financial Stewardship

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Foundation Transparency: Opacity — It’s Complicated

FavoriteThis article examines transparent and opaque practice in private philanthropy, studying the literature as well as findings from interviews with foundation staff, trustees, and grantees that sought answers to two relevant questions: Does opacity exist in private philanthropy? Have foundations and grantees developed strategies for overcoming challenges related to opacity? 

Categories: Governance

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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?

FavoriteBy: 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 since we were established in 2002, 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. Read more

Categories: Governance, Ask an Expert

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Foundation Board Leadership: A Closer Look at Foundation Board Responses to Leading with Intent 2017

FavoriteIn an effort to better understand the particular dynamics of foundation boards, BoardSource took a closer look at the subset of responses from the 141 foundation leaders who completed the 2017 Leading with Intent survey. KEY FINDINGS: When it comes to the board’s perceived impact on foundation performance, there are three board characteristics that may matter most: 1) providing guidance and support to the chief executive, 2) the board’s understanding of its roles and responsibilities, and 3) the extent to which the board is adaptable in the face of changes in the environment. Foundation boards lack racial and ethnic diversity Read more

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Foundations Don’t Know What They’re Risking

FavoriteCritical 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.

Categories: Governance

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10 Essential Roles of Foundation Board Members

FavoriteAs 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.

Categories: Governance

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A Self-reflection Tool for Black Trustees on Foundation Boards

FavoriteABFE 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.

Categories: Governance

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Foundation Board Basics

FavoriteA 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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Benchmarking Foundation Governance

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

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

FavoritePhilanthropy 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.

Categories: Governance

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Challenges and Strategies for Family Foundations With Geographically Dispersed Board Members

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

Categories: Governance

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