Case Studies

The challenges of institutionalized family philanthropy

CHALLENGE: The client, an Indonesian family listed as the country’s 11th richest, recently established their family foundation and signed the Giving Pledge - a commitment led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. As a self-made, first-generation wealth holder, the founder is entirely new to the concept of institutionalized giving, and has put his family members in charge of one of the largest grant-making foundations in Asia while they continuing to be responsible for running a major conglomerate.

Institutionalized philanthropy is a relatively new tradition in Asia and the family (one of the first Asians to ever sign the pledge and have no experience in running a foundation) was faced with the challenge of running one of Asia’s newest and largest philanthropic foundations.

APPROACH: Our firm was retained by the family to advise on their giving strategy, and regularly conducts family sessions to guide them through the intricacies of running a multi-million dollar grantmaking foundation (governance and staffing, family and board involvement, public relations).

RESULTS: The foundation is now run professionally, and has been recognized for making an impact in the healthcare and education sectors in Asia. 

“Jenny is a lifesaver! She has helped us so much.”

– The Tahir Foundation


Illumination - Motivation Exploration & Values Clarification, Vision Setting, Strengths & Opportunities Assessment, Overcoming the Pains of Philanthropy

Action - Family Roles & Responsibilities, Building the Team, Foundation Board Development

Amplification - Messaging Design, PR & Communications


Amplifying Celebrity Philanthropy

Foundation started by an Oscar-winning star enters new territories

CHALLENGE:  The Hawn Foundation (THF) was established in 2003 by Academy Award-winning actress Goldie Hawn, after she became alarmed by increases in school violence, youth depression and suicide, and the failure of the education system to help children cope with increasingly stressful lives. THF began applying cutting edge scientific research to create programs that support children’s social and emotional development. Over a decade later, THF sought to focus attention around the success of its evidence-based program MindUP, and to enhance its mission globally by raising awareness, engaging with high-level stakeholders and forming partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations.

APPROACH: THF retained our firm to provide philanthropic advisory, strategic counsel, and stakeholder engagement support. For Phase 1 of the project, we produced a full feasibility study and business plan for THF’s expansion into Asia, engaging with dozens of key stakeholders in the political, business, government and philanthropic spheres to determine the key issues around of driving meaningful engagement in Social & Emotional Learning.  For Phase 2 of the project, we introduced THF to the World Economic Forum, and conceptualized and organized an event for THF to amplify its presence in Davos and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of its signature program, MindUP.

RESULTS: With our guidance, THF was able to cultivate partnerships to strengthen its relationships on a global scale: a key relationship was formed with a leading private philanthropic foundation in Hong Kong, as well as a formal partnership with one of the world’s leading healthcare companies, Aetna. An event launching this partnership was held in Davos. We secured the participation of Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini and the Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington for this event, which was attended by over 100 notable ultra high net worth individuals, education leaders, and members of the press. Participants found areas of mutual interest, formed relationships and are interested in continuing their dialogue to develop future initiatives. These activities also helped generate vast media interest in THF, enabling them to further demonstrate their successes and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of their signature program, MindUP.

“Thank you for making 2014 our best year yet!”

– The Hawn Foundation


Illumination - 360°  Interviews, Field Mapping, Expert Consultations, Strengths & Opportunities Assessment, Feasibility Analysis

Action - Partner Introductions, Competitive Landscape Analysis & Review

Amplification - Special Events, Celebrity Partnership Development, Identification of Champions & Ambassadors


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Case Studies