Families, Philanthropy, and Impact

Date: Oct 28 2020

Glen W. Johnson, Chief Operating Officer

As impact philanthropy becomes more important to families, they are further engaging in the issues facing their communities. Here Nadia Roumani, Co-Founder and Senior Designer for the Designing for Social Systems Program at Sanford University, and Wendy Steele, Founder and CEO at Impact 100 Global Advisor Council, address how philanthropy has changed over the years, as well as the central social and economic issues facing us today in the world of philanthropy and impact.

Steele’s founded Impact 100 because she witnessed a lack of interest or aptitude toward philanthropy in her community as friends and family were not understanding philanthropy. Her initial idea was simple – gather 100 women who each donate $1000. And 100% of that money is grouped together and donated locally in increments of $100,000. Today Steele oversees more than 65 Impact 100 chapters around the globe.

Impact 100 provides the tools to assess non-profits, and the members end up knowing more about their community than before. They learn about the non-profit community, they learn about each other, and as a result, they care more about the issues. Further Steele sees multi-generational engagement, as members bring along a mother, sister, aunt or a daughter or niece.

In her work specifically with impact philanthropy, Roumani has spent five years working directly with new philanthropists in particular. These are high-net worth donors who are new to giving and want to make an impact.

Roumani notes two distinctly different categories of donors who are looking to make an impact:

  1. Donors who want to learn and join a group to actively engage. They attend conferences, become true students of philanthropy, and quickly get up to speed on social change.
  2. Donors who have a new idea or a new form of intelligence or technology. These donors want to apply what they’ve learned from the business sector to the social sector.

While there is much room for creativity and ingenuity in the social sector, Roumani sees a similar trajectory to the donors who fall into the second category. The excitement to get in is big, but in trying to create something new or find an easy solution, their enthusiasm wanes as they realize this is hard.

Donors really have to learn a whole new way of thinking. New givers in particular are often more obsessed with tracking impact metrics. However, impact giving requires a whole different set of metrics and is not easy to implement or control. The more donors sit in the room with people in the sector for a long time, the more they are humbled by how complex making change in that sector is. Roumani works with donors to help them narrow their focus, to narrow the scope of what they’re trying to do, and to make strategic – not emotional – decisions.

Glen Johnson is Chief Operating Officer at Family Office Exchange (FOX). In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of the member experience, ensuring that each family member, family office executive, and trusted advisor has an unsurpassed experience partnering with FOX by providing unique industry knowledge and insights coupled with a safe and confidential environment where members can share best practices. In addition, Glen oversees the operations of FOX and is charged with establishing and executing systems to execute FOX’s strategic plan, promoting it’s vision and service-centric culture, and enabling the FOX team to work together to exceed our member’s expectations.

Areas of Expertise: Business Owners, Business Transition, Wealth Advisors

Read More →