Adding nonfamily trustees and community voices to your family foundation board
Family foundation boards, donors, and CEOs thinking about the options and opportunities for engaging nonfamily board members and community voices in the governance of the foundation.
What are the signs that your foundation’s board might benefit from adding a community leader to bring new energy and a fresh voice to board deliberations and decisions? Some family foundations have never had an outside trustee on the board and don’t want one. Others have had non-family trustees since their inception—either a friend or business associate of the founder, a trusted lawyer or accountant, or a program expert or local community leader respected by the family. Join this webinar featuring representatives of family foundations that have made the choice to engage non-family trustees – hear more about why they made this decision, what questions and challenges they addressed in the process of adding non-family trustees, and what has – and has not – worked. Also: What are the reasons your board may wish to add non-family trustees? What process can your board use to decide how many non-family trustees to invite, and what qualifications and characteristics to look for? How should we go about the search and invitation process for non-family trustees? What are the biggest advantages to having new voices at the table? Are there any disadvantages or challenges?
Adam C. Gibbons has served on the Board of Directors of the Rasmuson Foundation since 2005. He is an investment professional with Latash Inc., an Anchorage, Alaska-based family office that provides investment advisory and consulting services to the Rasmuson Foundation and the Rasmuson family. Prior to joining Latash, Mr. Gibbons was an associate in JPMorgan's real estate investment banking group and JPMorgan's mergers & acquisitions group from 1999 to 2002. Prior to that time, Mr. Gibbons was a corporate associate in the New York law firm, Battle Fowler LLP (now Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP), from 1994 to 1999. At JPMorgan and Battle Fowler, Mr. Gibbons focused on advising public and private clients in their mergers and acquisitions and capital raising activities.
Mr. Gibbons received a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1994 and an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Bowdoin College in 1991. He is admitted to the Bar in the State of New York. He lives in Bronxville, NY, with his wife, Ingrid, and their two children, Tomas and Matias.
Diane Kaplan was named president of the Anchorage-based Rasmuson Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the Pacific Northwest, in 2011. She began administering the Foundation in 1995. From 1994-2001, Diane's consulting company provided management and government relations services to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations and Native corporations and tribes. She was previously president and chief executive officer of Alaska's 28-station public radio network. Diane earned a degree in Communications and Women's Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She attended executive management programs at the Wharton School, Stanford University and UC Berkeley.
Diane was appointed by Governors Murkowski, Palin and Parnell to the Alaska Children's Trust and currently serves as its vice chair. Diane is a member of the board of the Alaska Community Foundation and a founding board member of United States Artists. She is an advisory board member of the Anchorage Schools Foundation, University of Alaska Honors College, Philanthropy Northwest and a member of the National Center for Family Philanthropy Issues Advisory Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Anchorage Rotary Club.
Diane received the Distinguished Grantmaker Award, the highest honor awarded by the Council on Foundations, in 2007. In 2006, she received the Denali Award from the Alaska Federation of Natives, the highest honor given to a non-native person. Her community contributions have been recognized by the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, YWCA, and Anchorage Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Society.
Alan C. Fox is the founder and chairman of the board of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, an education grant maker committed to maximizing the potential of children and youth in California. Named in memory of Alan’s mother, the foundation provides grant support for programs that improve learning environments for children, and critical financial and non-financial technical support for collaborative educational projects, open innovation and scaling proven models that represent the best of education reform. Alan is an attorney, certified public accountant, and the president of his firm. He is also the editor of Rattle Magazine, an award winning poetry magazine. Alan earned his B.S., J.D., M.S. in Counselor Education, and M.A. in Professional Writing, from the University of Southern California.
Richard "Skip" Moore is the past president of the Weaver Foundation, a family foundation serving Greensboro, North Carolina. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Family Philanthropy and on the Council on Foundations’ Family Philanthropy Committee, and is a past member of the Council’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Weaver Foundation, he had a thirty-year career in higher education, serving at the University of Memphis, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement.
Katherine Weaver is Chair of the Weaver Foundation, which was founded by her husband Mike and his father Herman in 1967. In addition, she serves on the Board of the W.A. Stern Foundation, a family foundation established by her late uncle. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Elon University. Since 1992, Katherine has been President of Residence Development Company, which develops, manages and invests in Greensboro commercial and residential real estate. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and obtained her MBA from Wake Forest University. She and her husband Mike reside in Greensboro, NC with their twin fifteen year old sons and six grandchildren nearby, all of whom serve on the Weaver Foundation’s Junior Board.
What participants said:
Enjoyed hearing the real life experiences of adding or having non family board members.
Appreciated the emphasis on hearing new voices from the community and the low risk and high reward of including non-family members.
Interested to hear that a "true" non-family member should be someone not connected to the family, so putting on a family attorney or CPA that have a connection to the family is not necessarily good enough. Think outside the inner circle for more diversity!
The value of non-family board members is their willingness to engage in conversation, participate in debate, and challenge family board members on issues when necessary.
This webinar provided helpful fodder that we as staff can use to convince the board of the benefits of adding non-family trustees.