Effectiveness of Small Family Foundations

April 1, 2014 Posted by Jessica Shofler in Grantmaking, News, Nonprofits

You have probably heard of behemoth family foundations, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, taking on huge causes, like fighting AIDS and malaria. Is it possible for smaller family foundations to also make an impact? YES, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a recent article, the WSJ reported that small family foundations are able to pinpoint specific needs in a community and make a big impact by supporting causes that no one else is interested in supporting. Or by providing grants in a more creative way than their larger counterparts. For example, the Pierce Family Foundation in Chicago makes relatively modest grants, most around $25,000. But along with the grant money it provides other resources, like pairing staff with similar responsibilities from different nonprofits to create a support system.

According to the Foundation Center, annual giving by these small family foundations increased by 72% between 2002 and 2011, to more than $21 billion a year. So when your nonprofit is looking for grants, don’t just focus on the larger foundations, but research smaller family foundations as well.

Are there small family foundations making a big impact in your community? Tell us how in the comments below.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Casey Summar, Partner, The Law Firm for Non-Profits, 4705 Laurel Canyon Blvd, #306, Studio City, CA 91607

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