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Pivoting Through COVID-19: Portfolio Alignment for Foundations

In 2020, the pandemic upended our daily lives and the philanthropic landscape. But the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation‘s board saw this crisis as an opportunity to transform their giving, investment focus and protocol — proactively aligning the assets of the foundation with its mission. The pandemic and ensuing hardships gave the board the impetus to... Read More

Time-Limited Philanthropy: Embracing Mortality Can Drive Urgency and Excellence

In Give Smart, Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman wrote that private foundation excellence is self-imposed. “Of all the characteristics that distinguish philanthropists, the single most consequential may be the fact that they are essentially accountable to no one but themselves,” they said. Governments must win the favor of voters. Companies must earn customer... Read More

The Benefits of Trustee Diversity

The Valentine Foundation actively recruits diverse trustees to serve on the board, make grants and oversee all aspects of the foundation’s mission. Phoebe Valentine inherited her wealth from Smith Kline Pharmaceuticals. When she was in her late 40s, Phoebe received a dire cancer diagnosis and decided to mobilize her wealth to help others. The first... Read More

Foundation’s DEI Progress Reflects Its Place-Based Grantmaking

This post originally appeared as a GMA Foundations case study. The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation has a history of prioritizing its commitment to underserved groups in Lowell, Massachusetts, the city in which the foundation was established in 1944. But in order to really effect change and to more closely reflect an evolving and increasingly diverse... Read More

Beyond Governance: Training Foundation Board Members for Leadership

This article was originally published in the July/August 2021 issue of Taxation of Exempts, a Thomson Reuters journal. In the philanthropy and nonprofit field, training and development for boards of directors has traditionally focused on basic, fundamental roles and responsibilities. Common topics include: the duties of board members; legal compliance; providing strategic direction; hiring and... Read More