Every presentation and family meeting in which I participate invariably turns to transitions. In moments of change – within your family, governance, giving programs, or something else – so much more is affected than just the source of the change. In consideration of all those transitions, I am pleased to say that all that experience has resulted in our newest Passages Issue Brief. My paper, Family philanthropy transitions: Possibiliites, problems, and potential will be issued in about a week and available to our Friends and Partner Subscribers through the Knowledge Center.

We’ve been experiencing transitions pretty personally here at the National Center for Family Philanthropy. I’m delighted to welcome our new Director of Finance and Administration, Monique Thompson. We couldn’t be more excited to add Monique and her rich experience and commitment to the philanthropic sector. Ask her about her NBA experience. Given that wild environment, we expect she’ll fit right in here! My long-time assistant, Marlene Corrado, is moving to the Development and Marketing group so my loss is Kirkland Hamill’s gain! Jason Born has recently been promoted to Vice President of Programs. Given Jason’s tenure and vast program responsibilities (including editing FGN), this is well earned. Finally, Kathy Whelpley has courageously moved up to take on the Executive Vice President position. To top off our internal transitions, we're currently recruiting for a Program Manager and an Assistant to the President, so if you know someone in our area looking for a new and rewarding opportunity, pass on the word.

We also just introduced our Advisory Committee for our new study, Trends in Family Philanthropy Practice. This groundbreaking study, conducted with our research partners at the Urban Institute, will examine how family giving programs of all kinds manage their grantmaking, investments, governance, and management. We expect findings to be released next year and our ambitious goal is to repeat this study every 2-3 years to track development and needs in the field. If you have a question you’ve always wanted answered – how many people serve on a board, how seriously is impact investing “trending,” how are philanthropists using donor advised funds to meet their giving goals, or other – don’t hesitate to drop me a note. We’ll be developing our survey instrument over the next few months. Look on our website for developing information on the committee members and the study.

In perhaps the biggest transition in our program agenda, I am very happy to announce that we will be hosting our National Forum on Family Philanthropy on a regular basis. With enthusiastic feedback from 2014 attendees, we will conduct a Forum every other year in the odd years. To bring us in line with this schedule, we are hosting this year's Forum in Seattle, Washington on October 14-16, 2015. Look for program information in the weeks and months ahead. Please remember that first option to register is available only for our Friends of the Family. Important note: to offer a very congenial and interactive experience, registration is limited to 350 people. So look for that registration announcement!

Not all transitions are happy though. Bruce Karmazin of the Lumpkin Family Foundation recently retired from the NCFP board after serving his two terms. For more than 13 years, Sally Jones has led NCFP finance, administration and special projects. She steadfastly saw us through economic downturns and the development of our sustainability model. Sally has stepped down from her full-time work but I am pleased to say she will be staying on in a limited capacity in the Office of the President as a senior adviser.

In personally sad news, founding NCFP board member Sharon King recently passed away. In a time almost 20 years ago, when it took true leaders and visionaries to see the potential of family giving and the opportunity to serve donor families, Sharon was fearless. She added this work to a ridiculously busy schedule and brought energy, creativity, commitment, and grace to developing our earliest mission and programming. Illness took Sharon much too young but her daughter, Martha, and her organizational child, the National Center for Family Philanthropy, carry on her legacy.

Those of you who have followed these messages know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and time of year. In all the transitions in family and family philanthropy, Thanksgiving is a time to pause, reflect on the incredible joys and privileges of family and giving, and be grateful. Gratitude is a powerful inspiration and motivator for giving and volunteering. It’s a terrific theme to get your family engaged in your family giving and their own charitable interests. And there are always food and football. (Okay, less inspiring but also highly motivating!). May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy, gratitude, and family. I am – as always – very grateful for the chance to serve the National Center for Family Philanthropy and you.