Amazing things happen when people come together in community. Mutual aid groups support local communities with access to food and needed resources. Donor collaboratives now give over $2 billion annually. Community Advisory Councils are breaking from the traditional philanthropic mold of family philanthropy governance and expanding knowledge and connection to the communities they serve.

In my personal and professional life I’ve seen what’s possible and what can be achieved when people come together for a shared purpose in all types of community. Philanthropy can go further, faster and be more effective when it happens in community, and the urgency and enormity of the issues we seek to address have made community more critical than ever.

What’s possible when family philanthropy is at its best?

This question is the driving force of our work. In 2023, we’re exploring what this looks like from multiple vantage points. With the input from many of you, we are developing a definition of effective family philanthropy. Family philanthropy is the act of the collective, yet we know individuals bring their personal passions, experiences, and interests to the table. Forthcoming research will help you build a successful giving effort that balances the interests of the collective and the individual. Finally, many families struggle to actively engage their next generation, especially as young adults often have competing priorities. In a forthcoming report based on interviews with next generation donors, learn best practices for engaging your young adult family members.

While we explore these areas, we’re also committed to helping you apply what we already know works through a variety of programs and resources. These are all learning modalities to help you shift, turn your intentions into action, in some cases to help you find and build camaraderie, and to give you examples and resources to bring back to your boardrooms.

  • Peer networks are small group virtual learning conversations focused on a particular topic.
  • Webinars include the monthly Fundamentals of Family Philanthropy webinar series, which provides guidance on the core tenets of effective family philanthropy.
  • Learning and action cohorts are ongoing peer cohorts dedicated to deep and shared learning about a specific concept in family philanthropy, with an expectation of commitment to defined action(s) at the completion of the program.
  • The Family Giving Lifecycle is a framework that names the critical points of inflection within family philanthropy—from philanthropic purpose and impact vehicles to governance and succession—and orients donors toward effective outcomes at each stage of your philanthropic lifecycle.

The only way change is possible is when we work in community, for community. It’s through sharing, supporting and challenging each other that we learn, grow, and achieve our greatest impact. It’s been a source of constant inspiration to watch family philanthropies make decisions with the communities you serve, get more proximate to the issues you seek to address, develop healthier relationships with family and become more effective stewards of philanthropic capital.

Read the full article about family philanthropy and community support by Nick Tedesco at The National Center for Family Philanthropy.