Almost 25 years ago, the idea for the National Center for Family Philanthropy was sparked by the inspiration of a small group of giving families. The seed they planted has grown into a remarkable family tree, taking root and flourishing with the participation of countless more families and even greater inspiration.

What distinguishes giving families are the dual goals they bring to their philanthropic giving: goals for charitable purpose and goals for family participation. What unites them all is a very personal passion, a commitment to the legacy of their families’ values and vision and a commitment to philanthropic excellence.

As I think back about the extraordinary change that has occurred since the idea of the National Center was first broached nearly a quarter century ago—and all of the ways that our support for the field of family philanthropy has changed—it might be tempting to try to make sense of all of that change and spend some time speculating about the change to come. It may be a natural resistance to taking the expected path (contrariness?), but I believed it would be intriguing and, hopefully, more compelling to ask a different question: What should stay the same?

What are the National Center’s North Stars?

  • The Heart of Family Philanthropy: Love
  • The Dream of Family Philanthropy: Shared Values and Vision
  • The Spirit of Family Philanthropy: Renewal
  • The Soul of Family Philanthropy: Personal Commitment to a Public Good
  • The Privilege of Family Philanthropy: Joy 

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