Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Diane Zemke, PhD
Nick Martineau, DMin
Jason Clark, PhD, DMin
While Christian family philanthropy has significant potential to influence the viability and success of Christian ministry, it is an understudied area of investigation. In surveying its context, both formal and informal structures provide the framework for stewarding this privilege. These are under pressure to change due to generational shifts, family dynamics, evolving expressions of faith, and shifts in philanthropy itself. These pressures create specific challenges for the leadership of foundations by descendants of the Christian founders as they grapple with donor intent, ongoing stewardship, daily operations, and public accountability by their foundations.
Succession is a common transition for organizational life that is also experienced within Christian family foundations. Though studies on family philanthropy succession are few, research pertinent to family business succession can be applied to the topic. As new generations inherit the responsibility of continuing the founders’ legacy, common failures in the succession process reveal roadblocks for smooth transitions.
One must create the conditions for a smooth transition to next generation leadership in Christian family philanthropy. Following the self-emptying surrender of Christ, founders must be prepared to take a leap of faith and release control. Descendants must learn confidence and self-differentiation strategies that permit them to acquire their own vision for stewarding family philanthropy. For each person, trust in God's guidance is required.
To facilitate a successful transition for next generation leaders, an experiential nine-month philanthropy incubator has been designed. This artifact assists next generation philanthropists to learn together with their peers through giving and volunteering with charitable projects. By learning as a community of practice through participation in small projects together with non-profit practitioners, they gain confidence, knowledge, perspective, and vital tools for future leadership in generosity. The program will serve eight givers and eight non-profit leaders in the first year. The artifact will define recruitment strategies, project selection criteria, budget, program content, methodology, retreat specifications, personnel needs (mentors, retreat facilitators), workflow, timetable, and evaluation processes.
The dissertation has narrowly focused on stewarding the privilege of next generation Christian family philanthropy. Additional areas for further investigation are suggested, along with a consideration of the drivers behind the current research.
Petersen, Mark, "Stewarding Privilege: Transitioning to Millennial Leadership in Christian Family Foundations" (2020). Doctor of Ministry. 385.