Client Highlights: Family Engagement

August 15th, 2014

Succession and Family Inclusion:

A client foundation had a board of five family members who were all lineal descendants of the donor. Four of the five board members had children ranging from five to almost thirty years of age. The foundation came to Intentional Philanthropy to better understand how to incorporate the many cousins into the work of the foundation. Key questions included at what age involvement should occur, how to make involvement meaningful, how to foster harmony among family branches and how to create a succession process that recognized the emotional needs of the current board members in embracing change.

Experiential Learning:

As a tool for training new board members while uniting the entire board, Intentional Philanthropy led a strategic grantmaking initiative for the Mead Family Foundation, a client that already relies on Intentional Philanthropy for its day-to-day management. The board selected a topic that was of interest to everyone, but on which no one board member was an expert: high school completion and college and career-readiness for at-risk youth. Through consultant-led research and interviews with nonprofit leaders and other funders, the board explored the obstacles facing youth and the key ingredients of successful youth-serving nonprofits and programs. Intentional Philanthropy then led the board through a series of decision-making conference calls and meetings to further clarify the strategies they wished to explore. Guided by the tools and research framework, board members then nominated organizations from their own geographic area. This process brought newer and veteran board members onto a level playing field as they found potential grantees, conducted site visits, evaluated grant applications, and worked together to make funding decisions – all within a collective framework grounded in solid education about the issue area they chose. 

Executive Leadership Development:

Intentional Philanthropy provides executive leadership development to the Executive Director of a regional family foundation which has recently transitioned from donor-directed giving to a strategic focus on integrative health and whole-person patient care.  After facilitating several board meetings where the Foundation identified its values and determined its focus, Intentional Philanthropy continues to build the capacity of the Foundation’s executive leadership. We created a custom training curriculum for the Executive Director containing practical elements related to foundation operations (budgeting, strategic granmaking, board governance, tax and legal issues of concern) and the inspirational (transformational leadership).  Each month, Intentional Philanthropy provides the Executive Director with reading materials and key questions to consider on a chosen topic. We then meet together to review materials, answer questions and implement projects.

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