NCFP’s new guide, Transparency in Family Philanthropy: Opening to the Possibilities examines how family funders are thinking, acting—and, in some cases, not acting—when it comes to how open and accessible they are with others. Opening to the Possibilities features a collection of five diverse funder stories exploring different takes on how families think about and act on transparency—and what they have learned as a result. This month we share the experiences and lessons learned from the The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.
When Patrick Troska was promoted to Executive Director at the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota, he turned his eye toward how the foundation could be more entrepreneurial. “Jay and Rose built their wealth as entrepreneurs, and it prompted us to get out from our desks, engage with the community, and interact in a more relational and less transactional way,” says Troska.
The foundation didn’t use the word transparency much. What they did talk about was building authentic relationships within the community, and how to do it.
These types of relationships are newer to philanthropy, he says. Philanthropists have historically been more directive, and less in the role of listener. “We realized we needed to stop talking and authentically listen. That’s how we built relationships. We were transparent about our guiding values and that we wanted to be in true partnership with the community. Even using the word partners as opposed to grantees intimates a different way of being.”
Authenticity and transparency go hand in hand, says Troska. It requires a different set of skills to do it right and well, and it takes time and effort.
Read the full article about transparency in family philanthropy by Elaine Gast Fawcett at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.