Kenneth Kaye

Helping Families Make a Difference

An expanding area of my practice is devoted to families with a significant philanthropic commitment. For these clients, I draw upon both personal experience and my professional conviction that philanthropy is the most effective means of building and maintaining a legacy for generations.

Uniquely among advisers in this domain, I have been fortunate in building a resumé in three essential fields: individual and family development, and family business dynamics, and strategic philanthropy itself. Here’s why all three fields of expertise matter:

Philanthropic Philosophy

The mission of a foundation comes from the values and vision of its donor, renewed and refined through the commitment and wisdom of successors. The philanthropists I most admire and enjoyed working for have taught me:

  • Tax benefits are nice secondary reasons for giving.
  • Community or world name recognition and gratitude are secondary, and sometimes even undesirable.
  • Impulse giving is easy. Making one’s gifts and grants achieve desired impact is as challenging as it was to create the family’s wealth in the first place.
  • Giving needs to be strategic in two ways. To give the greatest benefit per dollar, “strategic” entails agreeing on focused mission and goals,  partnering with other donors and appropriate institutions, evaluating grantees and proposals, and continuously assessing impact as well as sustainability.
  • Equally strategic, however, is the way a donor family nourishes the participation of  its next generation, developing their leadership and embracing their contributions to the evolving mission. The most successful legacy families are those that use philanthropic experience as an arena to advance their members’ effectiveness in every area of their lives. As one client told me, “it’s not just what my grandchildren can do for philanthropy, but what it can do for them.”

Those principles are equally valid whether your family’s passion is the environment, children, medicine, peace, the arts … bettering your local community or the planet as a whole.

Click my resumé as consultant to family foundations, which highlights those facets relevant to families with serious philanthropic activity.          — K.K.