What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Joe Wilson, founder of the Xerox Corporation, and his wife, Peggy, formed the Wilson Foundation in 1963. A few years ago, we engaged in strategic planning to revisit our giving priorities. At the time, our board had 24 members that spanned three generations, and were spread throughout the country. In order to achieve our impact goals, we needed the proper governance structure.
Our board succession planning process
We had three main goals for our board succession plan:
- Incorporate our next generation
- Analyze board expenses
- Understand how we can better manage the foundation for greater impact
Board governance conversations can be challenging for family foundations because they’re personal. We hired a facilitator. This helped take any perceived ownership out of the process.
The board convened a smaller working group that set clear objectives. We started by asking ourselves a lot of questions:
- What do we look like compared to the field—e.g., size, expenses?
- Is board service a right or a privilege?
- Should we continue discretionary grantmaking for board members?
Read the full article about board succession planning by Katie Ensign, Deirdre Garton, and Megan Bell at Exponent Philanthropy.