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September 14, 2015

Opinion: Heads of Family-Run Foundations Face Extra Scrutiny

Leaders of family foundations who are also members of the founding clan face particular scrutiny and governance challenges, a New York Times financial columnist writes.

In an edition of his Wealth Matters column, Paul Sullivan focuses on Jay Ruderman, president of the Boston-based, $185-million Ruderman Family Foundation. He also talks to financial-services professionals to address how issues such as pay, expense reimbursement, business ties, and steering grants can carry particular peril for family-run philanthropies that must avoid seeming to give unfair advantage to family members.

The piece also notes the intangible benefits that can come from keeping foundation management in the family. "There’s just nothing better when you come together as a family and it’s not about you," said Claire Costello of U.S. Trust's philanthropic practice. "That’s reason in itself to put up with the legal and governance stuff."