Key Points

The dynamics unique to family foundations, including a dedication to preserving a legacy and to sharing decision-making among family members, are often a significant influence on a foundation’s governance and operations and may extend to how their experiences with consultants differ from those of other foundations or nonprofits.

This article, which draws on a survey and interviews with family foundations asking why, when, and how they hire consultants, looks at common experiences that lead family foundations to seek external help and how these foundations can learn from the experiences of their peers.

This article introduces the Family Foundation Life Cycle as a lens for understanding the stages of a family foundation’s operations, and provides a Family Foundation/Consultant Guide to help foundations anticipate needs and set the stage for successful consulting engagements.

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