Foundations boards tend to put their greatest time and energy into grantmaking. However, the reality is that it is even more important for foundation boards to focus on their own governance and operations. Ramping up to incorporate greater assets provides an opportunity – really a mandate – for foundations to focus on these important roles and rethink their governance.

Ramp-ups often require a mind shift change for a foundation’s governing body. Founding boards tend to be deeply involved in all aspects of a foundation’s life and may even act as volunteer staff in such areas as sourcing grantees, communicating with applicants and awardees, and managing endowments. An increase in size brings the opportunity for staff support as well as for a commensurate shift in the role of board members to focus on high-level strategy, stewardship, compliance, and oversight. Making that shift can be difficult for some boards or for their individual members who have enjoyed being deep in the work.

The ramping up process is a major transition in the life cycle of a foundation….Seizing the opportunity to rethink a foundation’s governance will help mitigate future conflicts and pave the way for successful transitions.

Read the full article about foundation governance by Katherine Linder at The Philanthropic Initiative.