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The Family Business Leader Podcast

Jan 3, 2018

As a third generation board member of my family’s foundation, philanthropy plays a big role in my life. I was first introduced to our foundation when I was 15. Today, nearly all of my siblings and cousins remain involved in the family foundation—pretty good, especially considering we are spread out geographically and raising our own families. It’s not always easy, but I think we agree that it’s an honor to carry on my grandparents legacy and work together to do good in the communities we serve.


People always ask how our family got us involved in philanthropy. So, this episode is dedicated to answering that question. I provide 10 things my family did well (because who doesn’t love a top 10 list) and I also share some of our lessons learned.  From my family to yours, enjoy!  


What Topics discussed in this episode:


  • Background, how we became involved and why it can be a challenge? (1:49)
  • #1 They asked (4:04)
  • #2 They met us where we were (5:57)
  • #3 They created a junior board (7:16)
  • #4 They took us on site visits (my favorite!) (9:00)
  • #5 They gave us tools (11:38)
  • #6 They provided hands-on education (17:25)
  • #7 We watched them in action (20:26)
  • #8 The Foundation made it easy (23:03)
  • #9 We talked shop as a family (24:59)
  • #10 They’re good role models (26:14)
  • Things we could have done differently (27:34)


Notable & Quotable:


I think family philanthropy is pretty much the best legacy my grandparents could have left us. —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations


9 of 10 of the 3rd generation are actively engaged in our family’s foundation. There are definitely some things our 2nd generation did well to get us here. —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations

For me, being involved in the family foundation is rewarding because we are doing great work together and getting to know each other on a different level. —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations


Site visits were the #1 thing that solidified family philanthropy for me.  —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations


With a twenty-plus year leadership runway, it felt like we were at the kids table for an incredibly long time. —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations


With family around the board room table, everything can seem personal at times. —Ellie Frey Zagel #successfulgenerations


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Frey Foundation

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Learn more about Successful Generations:

FB: @SuccessfulGenerations

Twitter: @EllieFreyZagel


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