Cole WilburTools for Greater Impact

By: Cole Wilbur In: 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference

31 Jan 2011

How many of you find that the better you do something the more enjoyable it is? It certainly is true in philanthropy. Because foundations, by nature, do not need to compete or be as efficient as businesses, many are not nearly as effective as they might be. If you are looking for ideas on how to use your money to really make a difference, take advantage of what the Council on Foundations has to offer new foundations.

I recently participated in a five-hour session, “Best Practices for New Foundations,” at the 2011 Family Philanthropy Conference. This session offered an excellent background on all of the legal basics, as well as board governance, and setting the foundation’s mission, goals, and strategy. It covered ideas for handling grants and communications, as well as ethics, values, and evaluation. The handouts can help a foundation get started and change for the better.

If you missed this opportunity in New York and need ideas on how to start effectively, you might consider attending the Council’s “Essential Skills and Strategies for New Foundations” class later this year or attend the Council’s Annual Conference in Philadelphia in April. By starting off the right way, leaders of new foundations can achieve the results that inspired them to create the foundation in the first place.

Cole Wilbur is a Trustee and Past President for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Comment Form

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Margaret Gage
Barbara Chow
Regine A. Webster
Dr. Peter Long
Josh Viertel
Anthony Tansimore
Erica Wood
Dan Hymowitz and Heather Lord
Adrienne Mansanares
David L. Waldman
David P. Janes
Salin Geevarghese
Katie Loovis
Michelle Kalina
Andres Spokoiny
Bruce Trachtenberg and Michael Hamill Remaley
Mary Topliff
Heather Peeler
Nancy Van Milligen
Anne Vally
Ryan Ginard
Sue Santa
Laurel Lee-Alexander
Trabian Shorters
Phil Buchanan
Gladys Washington
Jill Nash
Rosalie Nezein and Jesse Wrenn
Paul Penley
John Barnes
Sue Hildick
Vincent Robinson
Evelyn Gibson
Katherine LaBeau
Terry Kaelber
Julia Boyer and Danny Murphy
Erica V. Ekwurzel
Mayur Patel and Diana Scearce
Ann Cramer
Marco F. Cocito-Monoc
Trista Harris
Elizabeth Sullivan
Vicki Rosenberg
Chris Rurik
Vikki Spruill
Sally Migliore
Racheal Stuart
Bruce Trachtenberg
Tom Vilsack
Kelly Shipp Simone