Introduction

Just like the individuals and families who establish them, foundations change with the passage of time. And because nearly 90% of all foundations are set up with the intent to exist in perpetuity, their success depends on their ability to prepare for and manage change. This booklet provides guidance for the necessary thought work that leads to foundation preparedness.

There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for successfully weathering a foundation transition. Not only is each foundation unique, but each foundation is constantly evolving, gaining complexity over time. As new members and new generations seek
to put their own stamp on everything from grantmaking to governance, the foundation may find itself struggling. The challenge isn’t merely a transition, but also the internal stress of balancing the energy and engagement of new blood with the experience and traditions of its senior members.

So how do you deal with these transitions?

While there are no pat answers, there are excellent questions to help you find the right answers. That’s where we can help. Based on over a decade of experience supporting over 2,000 client foundations, we’ve come up with pertinent discussion points for each of these common transitions. Here’s what you might want to consider at each juncture.

The only thing that is constant is change. - Heraclitus