Within the next decade, older Americans will transfer an unprecedented $16 trillion in family wealth to millennial and Gen X heirs. As this transfer in generational wealth occurs, we are seeing an increase in the number of family foundations and overall giving from families. A 2021 Foundation Source analysis found that private and family foundations increased their charitable giving for the second year in a row. They also find that in 2021, endowments increased $1.7 billion year-over-year.

As families adapt to these changes in family philanthropy, strategic planning is a crucial tool for family foundations to be responsive to changing contexts and to maximize the effectiveness of their philanthropic work. Over the past twenty years, FSG has worked closely with dozens of family foundations to craft strategic plans that reflect their unique philanthropic values and vision and are closely attuned to the complexity of systems change and the needs of communities.

For family foundations interested in creating or updating a strategic plan, you might begin by asking these five questions:

  1. How can we update and clarify our foundation’s mission, values, and vision?
  2. How can this process help center equity and community voices?
  3. How can the foundation be more effective in creating change?
  4. How does our foundation want to measure success?
  5. How do we want to plan for continued learning from our work and from our community?

Read the full article about family philanthropy strategic planning by Neyat Daniel and Fay Hanleybrown at FSG.