Family Ties: Multigenerational Family Foundation Board Engagement

Family Ties: Multigenerational Family Foundation Board Engagement

Board members of family foundations involved in social justice-related work say the legacy of the founders and a shared sense of family responsibility support their long-term commitment, a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy finds. Commissioned by the Surdna Foundation, the report, Family Ties: Multigenerational Family Foundation Board Engagement (27 pages, PDF), highlights the perspectives of board chairs and CEOs of seven family foundations — Surdna, Cummings, Gund, McKnight, and Packard foundations; the Heinz Endomwents; and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund — with respect to board structure and family engagement, social justice, and lessons learned. According to the report, common practices for ensuring an effective family foundation board include creating a formal governance structure to help ensure the family's continued engagement and influence while enabling the board to function as a co-equal; developing a sound process for selecting new family board members; bringing in non-family members as a way to build additional expertise, diversity, leadership, and connections to issues and communities; and connecting with grantees, beneficiaries, and communities through site visits and grantee presentations.