CHAPTER 61Helping Families Move Up the Philanthropic Curve

Leslie Pine

Philanthropy takes many unique forms—and that is certainly the case with family philanthropy. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) opened its doors in 1989 to help individual donors, families, companies, and other funders increase the impact of their philanthropy. While every family and approach to family philanthropy is unique, we know that the philanthropic journey often follows certain patterns and pathways.

To reflect these patterns in a useful way, TPI developed the TPI Philanthropic Curve, which we offer as a tool to help families and other funders assess where they are, where they want to go, and what will help them to progress.

Schematic illustration of TPI Philanthropic Curve.

Source: The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI)

What Is the TPI Philanthropic Curve?

The TPI Philanthropic Curve has six levels.

  • Level One: Becoming a Donor

    If you sit at level one, you regularly or sporadically receive requests from nonprofit organizations and fundraising events. Requests come from your college, friends, neighbors, and business associates, or the schools, activities, and programs in which your children participate. From time to time, you make a gift because you are moved by an experience or a need in the community. For some people, charitable giving is familiar ground—it's something that is expected by your place of worship, for example, or something your parents ...

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