According to published reports there are some 80,000 foundations in the United States. They collectively expend more than $50 billion each year for charitable purposes. The IRS expects foundation managers to be conversant with the statutes and regulations as they discharge their governance and fiduciary obligations. However, the rules are exceedingly complex, resulting in an unrealistic expectation that all too often is not met.
The year I was born, 1963, being gay was officially deemed a mental illness by the medical establishment. Same-sex relationships were illegal in every state, save Illinois. The federal government maintained a policy that prohibited the hiring of "known perverts,” then referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Social change transpires at a blistering pace, in both promising and discouraging trajectories. After growing up in isolation in South Dakota and cutting my teeth decades ago as an LGBTQ human rights activist, I’m gob-smacked and elated by today’s Supreme Court decision.
This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the ADA, our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities.In line with our work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people, the ADA represents a commitment to ensuring opportunity and access for people with disabilities. In philanthropy, we have the opportunity to ensure that people with disabilities are represented both in the decision-making process and the outcomes of our work.
Community philanthropy is a field in expansion throughout the world – the number of community philanthropy organizations has more than doubled between 2000 and 2014. Among the several elements driving this growth, is the work of foundations and philanthropy infrastructure organizations serving the field, providing services, as well as generating knowledge and resources. WINGS latest report, Infrastructure in Focus: A Special Look at Organizations Serving Community Philanthropy, found a relationship between the availability of support in a country and the growth of community philanthropy organizations.
Can business acumen help overcome social challenges? Can entrepreneurial zeal generate innovative solutions? Can the energy of a new generation be harnessed to lead us forward on pressing causes? These were some of the questions addressed at the 2015 Social Innovation Summit.
The fabric of Foundations funding human services forms a rich mosaic with themes as diverse as housing, education, employment, social justice issues, physical and public health. The thread that interconnects with all of these is the mental health of the individuals and communities who are targets for support and improvement. It can be a complicated puzzle.
This week, Stan Katz, Benjamin Soskis and Maribel Morey released HistPhil, a new blog that focuses on both “the studying of history and the making of history”. The blog is a result of the co-founders insight that philanthropy as a whole has much to gain from studying its past. The founders hope that the blog will lead to new understanding of how current philanthropic issues can be resolved by studying the past. The organizers hope to bring together both scholars and changemakers in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
In late May I attended a meeting in Atlanta focused on impact investing hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) and the Council on Foundations (Council) about impact investing. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s collaboration with the philanthropic sector is a great example of the value of public philanthropic partnership. Impact Investing is quite familiar to many in philanthropy, but the number of entities actually practicing impact investing is much smaller. Fortunately, that is starting to change. Education and awareness building efforts such as this gathering in Atlanta are important for several reasons.
While the globalization of markets has dispersed investments around the world, we’ve hatched a plan to bring capital back to our communities in a transparent, coordinated, and collaborative way. I’m excited to announce Canopy, an innovative, member-owned, for-benefit company designed to advance regional investing—at scale.