Family Philanthropy Leadership: The Role of the Family Foundation Chief Executive Officer
In the National Center's work on family foundation governance, management, and succession, we have learned much about the critical and sensitive role of the family foundation CEO. This unique position often involves a complex relationship in which the CEO serves the public good and the foundation’s mission while helping a family (which may or may not be the CEO’s family) articulate and advance their philanthropic vision. The CEO role can be simultaneously inspiring, educational, and maddening... and it is one that most CEOs have no choice but to learn by doing.
To support current and future leaders in this work, the National Center is pleased to announce our new CEO initiative,
We believe the family foundation field will be positively changed as a result of the initiative’s five goals:
- CEOs and family foundation boards will as well as its special challenges.
- CEOs will be more effective family foundation leaders because they have the of their positions.
- The capacity of family foundations to will be significantly advanced.
- CEOs and board/family leadership will be better equipped to forge .
- Family foundations will have the they need to pursue and achieve their goals for the causes and communities they support.
To achieve these goals we will:
- Convene an advisory panel of CEOs to guide the research, education, and communications phases of the work;
- Commission a study and search for papers (with the cooperation of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan);
- Conduct a personal interview study by President Virginia Esposito of distinguished family foundation executives as well as a few key family foundation board chairs;
- Conduct a national symposium in Washington, DC, March 23-24 2011, for 100 invited CEOs to explore and develop the themes;
- Publish a report on findings, determine the gaps in resources available to CEOs, and fill those gaps. Make them available through a variety of networks and on our Family Philanthropy Online Knowledge Center (the largest searchable database on family giving in the world). Those additional pieces will include sample job descriptions, guides to leadership transition and CEO searches, and educational pieces on how CEOs handle their most pressing challenges; and
- Conduct workshops, teleconferences, and other programming to disseminate findings.
We welcome the participation of family foundations and advisors from around the country in this critical work to fill a major gap in understanding the CEO role and developing a blue print to use by foundation leaders, including trustees to maximize the relationship and plan for the future leaders.