Even if your family foundation or fund is very new, chances are you have already experienced at least one transition in the lifecycle of your giving program. What have been the key turning points in the life of your fund from the founders’ initial concept to the present? Which transitions can you see in the years ahead? How do you remember those past experiences? Did you plan for them or were they thrust upon you? Were the outcomes more positive and promising or tense and tumultuous?

This Passages explores the circumstances and dynamics of transitions and shares the experiences of practitioners in dealing with them.

All families, charitable or not, experience transitions. They can be joyful: births; marriages; graduations; and retirements. Of course, there are unhappy transitions as well: divorce and death are significant periods of sorrow and grief. No matter the intensity of the emotions they generate, all transitions have the potential to affect the course of family life.

Similarly, all formal organizations, including family enterprises, go through changes in their institutional lifecycles. Start-up, changes in staff or board leadership, periods of great financial gain or loss, mergers and acquisitions, a new business strategy, and many others all alter the evolution and direction of the enterprise.

Read the full article about family philanthropy transitions by Virginia M. Esposito at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.