The Financial Times recently ran a piece called “Founders, fathers and daughters” highlighting the increasing role of women at the top of family businesses set up by their dads. The lessons for a family foundation with a similar arrangement of paterfamilias and daughters applies as well, it seems to me, in the stewardship of a family foundation with a similar configuration.
As always the keys are mutual respect and trust. Even with maximum high-mindedness however the reality is sometimes that the philanthropic interests of each generation do not always line up. The differences include type of cause, charities long supported by the elders, and what can be described as (and not meant disrespectfully) a broader or differing world view in second and third generations.
Ideally , a new family foundation would rise from the drawing board fully formed – meaning a clear focus, a strategic direction and generational compatibility. Newer family foundations are almost always initiated by men and women who are self-made. Successful entrepreneurs are generally decisive, perhaps legends in their own minds, and their style is commanding.This is not a stereotype cliche. In working with charity boards and high next worth individuals for several decades I know the type is real.
We can help. FFM/C’s management, Betsy Bush – a seasoned program officer – and me, Hank Goldstein, are experienced, empathic and moderators.