Family Philanthropy Beyond Borders: Best Practices for Family Foundations with Geographically Dispersed Board Members


Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, J. F Maddox Foundation

It is clear that family foundations differ from other types of foundations with regard to the issue of board dispersion. Other types of foundations can easily overcome the problem of board members moving outside of the geographic area of the foundation. However, because of their legacy and core mission and values, family foundations will go to great lengths to ensure family involvement regardless of geographic location.

There are no clear-cut rules for how family foundations should approach the issues of governance, management roles for board members, the division of staff and board member responsibilities, and fiduciary roles, when board members are fully or significantly geographically dispersed. However, the patterns and themes found in the course of the case study interviews offer guidance to family foundations experiencing this common trend.

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