Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy

The nation’s first endowed chair focusing on family philanthropy

Family foundations and other family donors play an essential, yet often unheralded, role in addressing social challenges and enhancing the quality of life in communities across the US — and increasingly across the globe. The Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Johnson Center — the first endowed chair of its kind in the nation — was created to advance both the understanding and practice of family philanthropy in all its diverse forms.

Since 2010, Michael Moody, Ph.D., has served as the inaugural holder of the Frey Foundation Chair. In this role, Dr. Moody works with a network of partners to pursue a comprehensive, international program of applied research, speaking and writing, professional education and teaching, and other activities.


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 February 2017, some of the country’s most experienced and entrepreneurial donors joined national thought leaders in San Francisco for the fourth National Summit. The theme of this Summit was Donor Intent and Real Impact: Can your family have both? Click here for more information.


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.

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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 more than 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 of the books Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving (with Sharna Goldseker, 2017), The Philanthropy Reader (with Beth Breeze, 2016), and Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission (with Robert L. Payton, 2008).

Read more about Michael 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.