The nation’s first endowed chair
focusing on family philanthropy

Family foundations and other family donors play an essential and expanding, yet often unheralded, role in enhancing the quality of human life in communities nationwide. More than 37,000 family foundations provide critical assistance to America’s 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, supporting their programs in health care, education, human services, religion, arts and culture, the environment, and other areas.

The Frey Foundation Chair works with a network of national advisors and partners to implement a comprehensive program of applied research, teaching, professional development, and public service, all designed to advance and promote the field of family philanthropy in the United States.


National Summit on Family Philanthropy

The Johnson Center National Summit on Family Philanthropy is a biennial meeting unlike any other in the field of family philanthropy. The Summit is an interactive, productive gathering of current and next generation family donors, as well as staff, advisors, and researchers who strive to help families become more effective philanthropists.

In June 2015, family donors from around the country convened in New York City for the third National Summit and discussed a poignant theme for philanthropic families: collaboration in family philanthropy.

The next summit will be held February 20–21, 2017 in San Francisco. Click here for more information and register online.


Better Together: Realizing the Promise of
Collaboration in Family Philanthropy

Unique challenges arise, and unique opportunities open up, when family donors get involved in collaborative work in philanthropy. This report explores those special challenges and opportunities, and offers a set of recommendations for how to realize the promise of working better together. The insights here are based primarily on in-depth dialogues about family philanthropy collaboration that occurred during the third National Summit on Family Philanthropy, held in New York City in June, 2015, and hosted by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy.


The Future of Family Philanthropy: Predicting and Preparing

The future of family philanthropy is an uncertain one, with dramatic changes taking place both in families and in philanthropy itself. But along with the uncertainty comes possibility and excitement; along with future challenges there are energized new donors and emerging innovations that could improve family giving in ways few would have predicted just a few years ago. Based on the candid peer conversations and insights from thought leaders that were offered during two National Summits on Family Philanthropy, this brief envisions the changes in the field, and suggests ways to adapt family giving for a better future– a future of new families, new generations, new kinds of relationships, and new methods for creating change.

Browse our Family Philanthropy research reports for more research from the Frey Foundation Chair.

Podcast on #NextGenDonors

Who are the next generation donors, and how do they think about philanthropy? Michael Moody, Ph.D. discusses the first-of-its-kind research, Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy, conducted by the Johnson Center and 21/64, a nonprofit consulting practice specializing in next gen and multigenerational engagement in philanthropy. The next generation of philanthropists, members of gen x and gen y, will “wield more philanthropic power than any previous generation.” Dr. Michael Moody reveals key research findings on these high capacity donors and discusses how they are changing philanthropy.

Listen online    Download the mp3

Meet the Frey Foundation Chair: Michael Moody, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael MoodyIn July 2010, Michael Moody, Ph.D., joined the Johnson Center as the first holder of the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy.

Dr. Moody is trained as a cultural sociologist and has been actively working to understand and improve philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for 25 years. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University, he was one of the first employees of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. He then earned a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in sociology from Princeton University, served on the faculty at Boston University and the University of Southern California, and ran his own philanthropic consulting business for two years.

Dr. Moody is co-author (with Robert L. Payton) of the book, Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission, as well as numerous other publications about family foundations, next generation giving, donor education, ethical giving, venture philanthropy, giving as “giving back,” and many other topics. He is a frequent speaker about philanthropy at venues across the U.S. and worldwide.

Read more about Dr. Moody here.


With Gratitude to the Frey Foundation

The Frey Foundation, based in Grand Rapids, is one of Michigan’s largest family foundations. Grants are provided to nonprofit organizations primarily in western Michigan for programs and initiatives to enhance children’s development, protect natural resources, promote the arts and expand philanthropic civic action. The Frey Foundation was established in 1974 by Edward J. and Frances T. Frey.