Family foundations

We think of family philanthropy as the organized commitment of a family's private wealth— time, talent or treasure — to public purposes. Many of the families we work with choose to honor that commitment through the family foundation vehicle. Whether you're a donor, board member, next gen family member, CEO or other staff member, we have the world's largest collection of resources to help you manage the challenges of running a family foundation.

Access 2000+ resources

NCFP's Family Philanthropy Knowledge Center is the world's largest repository of resources on family philanthropy. The Knowledge Center is a searchable, comprehensive and continually updated collection of more than 2,000 articles, case studies, videos, podcasts, profiles, presentations, reports, sample policies and discussion papers related to family philanthropy—and it's ready for you to download and use.


Make connections

Family foundation board and staff members in our network receive invitations to special gatherings and webinars to connect with peers who also practice strategic and meaningful family philanthropy. Our events offer a forum for discussions on what works—and what doesn't—while providing you with the tools and connections to realize your philanthropic vision. In addition to our monthly Family Philanthropy Webinar series, featured events include the Trustee Education Institute and the National Forum on Family Philanthropy.


Extend your network

Join our national network of giving families who are working together to maximize their impact. Learn about top trends in the field of family philanthropy to gauge your potential. Share your story, make connections, and support the visions of other families to keep the field of family philanthropy vital and important.


Meet other staff leaders

Family foundation CEOs and senior staff leaders play a critical and sometimes sensitive role in family philanthropy; leading a foundation can be inspiring, educational and maddening—and it is a role that most CEOs must learn by doing. NCFP's CEO Initiative offers guidance as well as peer learning opportunities for current and future leaders of family foundations, including our CEO Leadership Guide Series, special CEO Symposiums and the Non-Family Staff Peer Learning Network.


Plan for transitions

Every family foundation experiences the joy, sadness, and complexity of transitions. Boards welcome new family members, experienced trustees retire, program priorities shift, or you could face an influx of new assets or a declining stock market. Planning for transitions helps you make the most of these opportunities for renewal. After all, family philanthropy depends on the natural evolution of things and the new energy this evolution inspires.


Assess progress

Taking a step back from time-to-time to assess progress is vital to future success. NCFP's Pursuit of Excellence Diagnostic Tool is a powerful self-assessment process that enables boards to pinpoint areas of shared interest and concern, including the family-specific aspects of managing a foundation. You will better understand your strengths, identify areas for improvement, measure and compare your philanthropic model with the broader field and discover resources to enrich your foundation's future.


Refine your grantmaking strategy

Grantmaking is the most rewarding activity for a family foundation or donor advised fund— and the reason for its existence. It is your family's opportunity to make a difference in areas that matter most to you. As grantmakers, you move beyond just talking about societal problems to looking for ways to solve them. We can help you turn your family's values into a cohesive philanthropic vision and, from there, into grants with impact.


Define your structure and policies

Your governance structure determines who makes decisions, how these decisions are made and how you and your board act as stewards of your foundation's assets. This structure also clarifies how those who do not serve on the board can still play an important role in your philanthropy. Clear policies for board member qualifications, job descriptions and nomination and removal procedures should govern family expectations.


Your peers say:

NCFP is the nation’s only organization whose sole mission sole is to support family philanthropy.  Being “A Friend of the Family” gives me access to a wealth information so essential in helping me better assist the family I serve. Because of the unique and sensitive nature of our work, we are often isolated in our home communities.  As a “Friend”, I have access to a community of wonderfully supportive colleagues with whom to learn and share.”

Frank Wideman, President, Self Family Foundation