How should family offices and families with holding companies, businesses and foundations use their private capital to address climate change, social disparities, and other global challenges identified by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? 

Our research into this question, has twin goals:

  • World-class business and management research regarding family-owned private capital and impact, in leading peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • Actionable, research-based insights into how private capital owners’ can use their investments and business decisions to address global challenges. 

Our research

The agility of family owners and their potential for long-term thinking can potentially catalyse positive change across their holdings, from family offices to family holding companies. However, change is fraught with organisational, regulatory, political and behavioural barriers.

We are identifying best practices and innovations via in-depth qualitative case studies and analysing how investment strategies, organisational design and governance link to impact generation via our online survey, interviews and anthropological participant observation.

Our research questions

  1. What organisational designs, decision tools, incentive mechanisms and leadership practices enable and/or impede private capital owners in contributing to positive impact at scale while leveraging their unique attributes?
  2. What strategies do private capital owners and their organisations use to generate impact across different asset classes?
  3. How do existing regulatory frameworks, legal forms, governance structures and reporting standards facilitate and/or impede private capital owners’ impact strategies?

Participate in our research


We welcome hearing from family offices, family holding companies and family businesses who wish to take our survey, sit for an interview, or be a case study. Participants are anonymous and identifying data is anonymised.

Participants are invited to join our 'Community of Practice,' comprised of family organisations, family members and executives. This network is a resource for peer-to-peer contact, peer learning, and members-only programming derived from research insights. We aim to enable families to harness their resources and to create positive societal and environmental impact at scale. 

Research data protection protocol

The project team

  • ""
  • ""

Affiliated faculty

Our partners and collaborators

We are housed within the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford Saïd, using programmatic support and the global Skoll network to support our work.

Our research collaborators and partners support our data collection, amplify our findings, provide ongoing feedback on our methods, data and process, and co-author with us.

Our history


Ownership Project 2.0 builds upon the Ford Foundation-supported Ownership Project 1.0 (2018-2022), a global study of responsibility and purpose among large family businesses with annual revenue above USD1 billion. This provided a strong network of private capital owners, their member networks, family offices, foundations and professional service providers.

The concluding Impact and Activities Report 2018-2022 summarises Ownership Project 1.0's research and outputs.


Email ownership@sbs.ox.ac.uk for further information.