[Editor’s note: With the Council’s Family Philanthropy Conference set to begin on Sunday, January 31, we asked our 21 conference bloggers to tell us a question they think family philanthropy needs to explore as the San Diego conference begins. Here’s Sam Davis’ answer. Davis is the principal at The Davis Group.]
As the philanthropic field continues to mature and expands globally, there are many interesting questions and opportunities to explore. However, in my opinion, the primary question facing family philanthropy today is an enduring one: How can philanthropy serve as a means for expressing a family’s legacy of values and enhancing familial relationships? It is this “family-ness” question that is unique to family philanthropy and separates it from all other charitable enterprises.
At the Family Philanthropy Conference in San Diego, I’ll be curious to see if families give their philanthropic assets the same attention and discipline they apply to their business and financial assets. Workshops on intergenerational communications, trust building and the developing the family’s human capital will address the “family-ness” question, and provide families with the information and resources to ensure their philanthropic efforts are successful. It will be up to each family to follow-up when they return home.