More Than Money
Issue #16

Family Foundations

Table of Contents

“Why Reinvent the Wheel?”

Whatever causes, issues, or communities you want to support, chances are good that an existing foundation is already working fruitfully in that area. Unless philanthropy truly excites you -- and you are ready to give it enough attention to do it well -- consider giving assets to a public foundation that supports your fields of interest.

These institutions already have ample administrative support and professional staff to seek out projects and evaluate them thoroughly. Many offer a range of structures which let donors be as involved -- or as distant -- as they wish.

In the article on page 12 Wally Nielsen describes community foundations as sensible giving vehicles for many families with wealth. Readers of More Than Money might also be interested in the networks of "alternative" or issue-oriented funds which have developed around the country in the past two decades.

These funds include the sixteen community foundations of the Funding Exchange, the more than seventy local funds of the Women's Funding Network, and a federation of twenty Black United Funds. Representatives of these organizations, plus the board and staff of hundreds more, come together annually through the National Network of Grantmakers. Distinguishing characteristics of many of these funds are: 1) their focused support of social change organizing; 2) their attempt to democratize philanthropy by having community activists serve on grantmaking boards; and, 3) an asset management strategy that includes socially responsible investments. -- the Editors


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