Council News

As we celebrate and ponder a century of Community Foundation impact in our society, the convergence of community and climate is increasingly relevant.

Foundations and charities face a pivotal moment.

“When Say Yes launched, I said ‘Yes, here we go! Yes to everything. Yes, you can go to college. Yes, you can accomplish your dreams. Yes, you can be a role model.’”

On the 100th anniversary of the community foundation – as we contemplate how these crucial institutions can be even more relevant in the next century of their existence than they have been in their first – it’s crucial to look hard at what donors value.

In summer 2012 I was a brand new Program Officer and wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined a group from the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) on a rural bus tour of eight youth camps in three days. My traveling companions were members and guests of the JFN Disability Peer Network.

High school completion program helps refugees of all ages earn their diplomas

When disaster strikes, who do you call first? Unless she’s a volunteer firefighter, you probably didn’t say your accountant. Foundations are often the first to offer critical resources to charities that are on the ground helping serve the immediate needs of victims.

The idea of coordinated giving days is gaining momentum. These social media campaigns provide an image-building opportunity for community foundations as well as opportunities to build the capacity of our grantees to raise money for themselves.

Online giving days are generating huge interest among community foundations.

Here’s proof you don’t need an endowment to have a significant and disruptive impact on your region’s philanthropic landscape.

You don’t need an excuse to tell a great story.

You simply need a great story.

Over the last two years, the City of Flint has been working on its first master plan since 1960. It serves as a blueprint for land use over the next 20 years.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation donor-centered focus helps philanthropists make a bigger impact

This blog was originally posted by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Visit their website for more information.

The Elkhart County Community Foundation's mission:
To improve the quality of life in Elkhart County by inspiring generosity.

I dare you to watch the video below and not smile.

It’s ok – I’ll wait the three and a half minutes it will take you to watch it. Just click “play” and I’ll pick up this post when you’re done.

“You can do a lot with $1.” A simple but powerful phrase at the heart of GiVE 365, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’ dollar-a-day giving circle. Formed in 2010, GiVE 365 unites and informs emerging philanthropists to make a collective impact on Greater Memphis.

Austin, Texas, is the top spot to be an entrepreneur, make movies, get fit, have a dog, and eat barbeque—but as recently as a decade ago we ranked near the bottom of per capita giving.

In conjunction with our 90th Anniversary, the Connecticut Community Foundation hosted our first online giving challenge, Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills in November 2013.

For nearly 100 years, the California Community Foundation (CCF) has been defined by the diverse passions of the more than 1,700 donors who share a dream for a better future.

Many community foundations are recognizing that impact investing can be a powerful tool in our philanthropic toolbox. Mission investments are investments made by foundations to further their philanthropic goals.

At the White House last week, foundation executives, including the Council’s President and CEO Vikki Spruill, met with senior Administration officials for a roundtable on the future of impact investing.

When Jessica David was wondering how to support her new hire, who was tasked with telling her foundation’s story online, she turned to her peers for advice.

With partnerships being very important in making the most of innovative ideas, how does one develop an authentic partnership? In a recent situation, I developed a partnership with several individuals to implement an idea at a large conference. Here are the lessons I learned:

How can we engage older residents while tapping their expertise? In 2006, The New York Community Trust responded to an invitation from Atlantic Philanthropies offering challenge to get people over 60 involved as they improve life for everyone in their communities.

At the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., some funders were expressing a move toward a new way of doing business with their grantees. Accountability has long been a theme in grantmaking.

The following piece originally appeared on Forbes.com. It is written by Brad Phillips of the Institute for Evidence Based Change, a Lumina Foundation grantee.

During the 2014 Annual Conference - Philanthropy Exchange - we will be posting blogs written by speakers and attendees. If you are interested in blogging with the Council, contact john.cochrane@cof.org.

I love my city of Chicago. One of my prouder moments occurred in 2010 which, to me, witnessed the manifestation of about ten years of outreach, communication, and deepening mutual respect across normative borders. It came out of years of interfaith dialogue and growing friendships.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” Albert Einstein

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors.

”The universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” said poet Muriel Rukeyser.

A lot has been accomplished over the years since HIV/AIDS first was discovered. Scientists have come a long way toward finding a cure, and in the process many of those afflicted with the disease are living much longer than in the past.

At a recent gubernatorial candidate forum I attended in Rhode Island, a Brown University professor presented on the challenges of climate change for the Ocean State.

Are you looking for ways to improve innovation at your organization?  Sometimes innovative ideas aren’t shared because people don’t know who to take them to.  Or, they think that others would judge the idea’s value based on the person contributing it.  If you are looking to spur innovation at you

 

"We need more agency for people in communities, not just people with money. We’re giving so much voice to new people moving in...My grandmother shouldn't have to battle to keep her apartment."

Do you know more about apps for your phone than apps for your browser? Many are unaware that apps and other add-ons are available for their browsers, are often free, and can provide unique tools to make their online experience better.

The Community Foundations of Canada’s Vital Signs is an annual community check-up, conducted by co

This blog was originally posted on "Knight Blog" the blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It is republished here with permission.

This blog was originally posted on Philanthropy Northwest's website.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors.

 

This article was originally published on the Philantopic Blog at Philanthropy News Digest. It is reposted here with permission.

This past Sunday, December 1st, marked the 25th annual World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

This blog was originally posted on CNN Money. The Council on Foundations is partnering with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Why should my community foundation care about public policy?

With competition from other charitable options and heightened scrutiny of charities in the media, National Standards set our field—and your community foundation—apart and unders

Gifts to community foundations have long been used as planning tools by individuals with philanthropic goals.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors.

Six Misconceptions About Family Foundations

Having recently transitioned from the world of politics to that of ‘foundationland,’ I was excited to attend my first CoF Conference and help reaffirm in my own mind how foundations can play a more dynamic role in their local communities through a modernization process of what I have been commonl

Imagine that you and your children are victims of domestic abuse. Or that your landlord refuses to remove mold from your apartment and you are getting sick.

The following letter, reproduced with permission, was sent by Juanita T. James, president and CEO of the Fairfield County Community Foundation, to her representatives in Congress.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t predict the future. However, we can ensure the future outlook for effective programs and nonprofits is vibrant.

Philanthropy has the means to make strategic social investments to elevate the interests of America’s elders, especially for the over-65 U.S. Latino population. As the Baby Boom generation ages, there are increased opportunities and compelling strategies for addressing their needs.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the law exempting charitable activity from taxation — now referred to as Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

This article was originally published on the Interaction Institute Blog.

Throughout the fall conference, I had been prefacing every comment or question, every new introduction, with “I’m brand new, only six weeks in as a program officer.” I heard many others, too, more than I expected, who are only a few months, or, in several cases, a few days into the incredible (an

The Center for Effective Philanthropy recently released a report titled Working Well With Grantees, and as any program officer might expect, t

Government officials, philanthropists, and foundation staff often discuss the importance of providing services to our veterans and their families. However, we don’t often link the importance of those services to protecting the all voluntary military force.

I attended the “What is place-based philanthropy?” site visit, and it got me thinking about the role of private business in community foundation projects. There are fruitful relationships and productive roles we could do more to develop, and San Diego has some interesting models.

A packed room came to hear how community foundations are successfully listening and responding to their communities. The work we heard about was innovative, sometimes controversial, and completely inspiring.

At the “Trends and Realities” plenary, the panelists all recognized economic issues in their communities as being among those things that kept them up at night.  But my biggest take-away came from Mariam Noland, President of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan.  When she noted that “De

This blog was originally posted on bolderadvocacy.org

While folks here in California are no strangers to the earth moving beneath their feet, they are currently witnessing a seismic shift of another kind. Earlier this year, for the first time, the population of Latinos in California equaled the number of whites.

One of the most pressing topics for community foundations is the reinvention of their position as catalysts for change.  Foundations are increasingly taking on new, proactive roles within their communities, capitalizing on their ability to lead and advocate.  They are independent and unencumbered

What: Learning Lab, Key Tools to Weave a Richer Civic Fabric
When: Monday, September 23, 2013 (4:45pm-5:15pm)
Where: Elizabeth Foyer, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Today, Council on Foundations president and CEO Vikki Spruill is in New York City to talk with the board of Realdania about trends in American philanthropy and how we can leverage transatlantic partnerships in the field.

The philanthropic goals of being a servant leader and achieving greater return-on-investment are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, we believe they are intertwined.

A few weeks ago, I conducted research to prepare for a teleconference and revisited a website to print information for the meeting.  Using the Google search engine, I found the link to the page and clicked on it.  To my dismay, a “Page Not Found” message was displayed.  Looking for a solution, I

Earlier this year, Project Streamline – an initiative of the Grants Managers Network – released Practices That Matter:  Taking Stock of Streamlining. Five years after our initial e

The shootings in Newtown, prison overcrowding, disproportionate minority confinement and Attorney General Holder’s recent advocacy for increased judicial discretion for “low level” offenders have placed increased pressure on community foundations to respond to new community and policy realities.

Last week a member of U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ staff called to ask for my help. Senator Collins, who is the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, was launching a newsletter focused on the issue of aging.

Today, Susan Taylor Batten, president and CEO of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, co-authored an editorial with Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.

Sometimes small grants can have surprisingly large effects, and advance your mission with unexpected potency. Case in point: the Northwest Area Foundation made a $50,000 grant to support the work of the Growing Transit Communities partnership in the Central Puget Sound Region.

David Haskell, former international regional director for Habitat for Humanity, has a unique perspective on networking. “Imagine that you were tiling a floor,” Haskell says. “You could use uniform tiles that all fit together nicely but are rather expensive.

In 1988, President Reagan proclaimed August 21st to be National Senior Citizens Day. He hoped that the country could unite in recognizing the important role that seniors play in communities across the country.

There are currently an estimated 1.5 million LGBTQ seniors in the U.S., and by 2030 that number is expected to more than double to 4 million.

When the comic strip “Doonesbury” is making fun of your state’s lackluster education record, you know things must change.

Every year, thousands of nonprofits experience the departure of an executive. Faced with this challenging and typically unfamiliar situation, boards can easily make missteps that jeopardize their most important governance decision. 

I had a meeting recently with an economist at the World Bank.

Council staff, consultants and I recently met with Senator Max Baucus of Montana who serves as chair of the Finance Committee. Three weeks ago, the Council’s CEO, Vikki Spruill, met with Representative Dave Camp, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Discussion is healthy with regard to addressing the issue of homelessness in Denver, but we need to reframe the discussion.

I recently began learning about social network analysis (SNA), an innovative tool that helps professionals understand the often hidden relationships between people, groups, and organizations.

I am always drawn to an essay that talks about how we are motivated to give, especially when the main character is a guide dog named Lucy.

Nonprofit leaders are accustomed to justifying their need for operating support in appeals to potential donors. In a “proposal letter” written in June 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart makes his case to benefactor Johann Michael Von Puchberg:

The concept of “strategic philanthropy” has gained much currency in recent years. While nonprofit effectiveness has likely increased because of it, it also has inhibited nonprofit impact.

As I write this, my partner and I about to leave for Borough Hall to get our marriage license.

For better or worse, the field of philanthropy is inundated with reports. My swelling “to-read” pile is the root cause of seemingly intractable clutter in my office.

In philanthropy we know that storytelling is a critical way to illustrate impact.

Last week, the Lumina Foundation released a new report, “A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education,” the fourth of its kind to track progress against its ambitious mission for 60 percent of Americans to hold hig

In class, I learned about motivating employees and the value of a learning organization, and started thinking about tools I could use to encourage a learning culture. Here are a few ideas I came up with that you might be interested in utilizing in your own organization.

The EDGE Funders Alliance Just Giving conference in Washington DC, 21-23 May, brought together some 250 donors, activists and allies on the theme of ‘What is to be done?

As our nation sits and watches the devastation in Oklahoma following a series of tornadoes this week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Jennifer Lammers, the new Program Director for the Allian

Black adolescent girls and young women face special barriers related to both race and gender, which have immense effects on their health, achievement, and life outcomes. This is especially the case for low-income black girls, who have added challenges associated with poverty.

As I sat in the lobby before a recent meeting at a nonprofit, I saw a woman carrying a stack of folders in one arm and tugging at her luggage with her free hand. She tripped, but caught herself before she spilled the stack.

Immigrants are vital to our economy and our communities. Nearly 10 million immigrants, the largest of any state, call California home. More than 2 million Californians are undocumented.

Science, technology, engineering, and math—the “STEM” subjects—are an important focus of philanthropic institutions trying to address educational and economic disparities between girls and boys.

Scotty calls himself “the medical miracle.” By the time he was 15 years old, he had been hospitalized 23 times and thrown out of his last foster home because of mounting medical bills.

I spent the first day of spring 2013 fast-walking Capitol Hill with foundation colleagues from all across the country. Hundreds of us were there for Foundations on the Hill, philanthropy’s annual push to remind lawmakers why giving matters.

I recently presented an infographic learning session using Google+ Hangouts on Air.

Blistering sunlight broils our small group as we gingerly perch around the edges of the raised bed our hosts have set out for us in front of their hut in Godha Village.

I enjoyed presenting at a great session, “Small Grants, Big Difference,” during last week’s Council on Foundations Annual Conference with Daniel Tillias of Pax Christi Sakala in Haiti; Kate Ahern of the Case Foundation; and Monica LaBiche Brown of Water for People.

Thank you, Jennifer Lentfer, for making it okay to say, “I don’t know.” Well, for encouraging us to say it more frequently, anyway.

Russell Conwell was a motivational speaker at the turn of the 20th century who had a famous talk called “Acres of Diamonds” that he allegedly delivered 6,000 times.

Having moved from London to New York just two weeks earlier, I walked into the Council on Foundatons’ day-long global preconference session with trepidation; would I remember what my organization did? Would the other attendees groan when they realised I was a fundraiser?

I recently received a call from a researcher on a new project. As I understood it, a prominent U.S. foundation had asked them to study how domestic donors deal with gender issues.

Evolving the narrative. Leadership imperative. Our path forward.

This nation has a proud history of journalism, long tied most closely to newspapers. But the newspaper industry, as we know, has experienced a severe decline in recent years.

Over the past several years, no strategy for change has captured the imagination of philanthropy more than impact investing. In the United States and even more so in emerging markets, people and institutions with financial means are deploying those resources in new and sometimes innovative ways.

Organizations working to make the world a better place have strong ambitions. They want to reduce gun violence in the wake of Sandy Hook, get Americans off the couch and active, and keep children safe from climate change.

Over the last several decades, accountability reporting, especially at the local level, has contracted dramatically, with potentially grave consequences for communities, government responsiveness, and democracy.

I recently gave a presentation and created an infographic that shared what I learned about conducting a financial analysis of a nonprofit.

This is the first post in an ongoing impact investing series on RE: Philanthropy.

The Council on Foundations’ commitment to encouraging collaboration is commendable, particularly considering the great accomplishments that alliance building has produced.

The statistics are hard to ignore, and you may already be familiar with many of them. In 2010, guns took the lives of more than 31,000 Americans in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings.

When my class (The Philanthropy Workshop West) arrives, a light snow dusts the ground and U.S. President #44, Barack Obama, has just been sworn in for a second term.

The study and practice of leadership has been on my mind for the past several months.

You’ve probably heard of Google+ Hangout and perhaps even used it to connect with family and friends over the holidays. But have you thought about the uses it could have for foundation staff and grantees?

On a warm and sunny day more than ten years ago, I visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the King Center in Atlanta. Having read and heard about the U.S.

Last week, I predicted that the itemized deduction could soon be back on the table as Congress looks for ways to raise revenue.

As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, and a veteran myself, the challenges those who serve face when they come home are topics near and dear to my heart.

As foundations continue to assess where they can maximize the social return on their charitable investments, many are looking at issues of gender norms and equity.

It took many long hours—and hundreds of e-mails—to get to this point, but we finally, officially, proudly launched the Next Gen Donors report at last week’s Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference

We as a field have become and are encouraged to become increasingly “strategic” in our efforts. There is literature on the subject; we hold conferences and conference sessions on it. But, for all this strategy, are we more effective as a result? I would say not as much as we could be.

“Family foundations evolve, so they need to be able to evolve.”—Kelin Gersick, author, Generations of Giving

Earlier this month, I joined the Council on Foundations after following a rather unique road in government relations, the law, and public policy. I’ve worked in all three sectors: public, private, and now independent.

This year’s Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference is challenging those of us in family philanthropy to consider how systems thinking applies to our work.

The central piece of the vision for the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference  is found in our theme of “systems thinking.” To be most effective and find the right approaches given our capacities we need to understand how these syst

It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.

At a pivotal historical moment, family foundations are poised to address matters of racial equity, inclusion, and diversity to enhance their impact. These concerns are central to any thematic area a family foundation would address in its programming.

Blessed are the family foundations graced with harmonious board interaction, for they may be focused on their grantmaking.

Today, 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs remain open in the United States and more than 82 percent of manufacturers report that these jobs are unfilled because they can’t find people with the necessary skills.

In 2012 there were further signs that the once staid tradition of employees taking part in annual workplace giving campaigns has been upended by digital technology, younger workers with new ideas, and the need for more engagement between employers and employees.

If you’re a busy professional, you may be interested in locating apps that can help you be more effective. But with more than 700,000 apps currently available in Google Play, finding the right ones to install on your Android phone can be difficult.

Philanthropy is tightly woven into the fabric of American society. It’s hard to imagine life without the fruits of charitable giving, including hospice care, insulin, vaccines, civil rights, Sesame Street, the 911 system, and even white lines on roadways.

Cities like Cleveland typically have rich assets in their “eds and meds”: top-tier academic and medical institutions that draw people from around the world.

With the explosion of private enterprise in many parts of the world, there are more wealthy people looking for ways to give back to their communities. Business leaders in areas like Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and China are exploring ways to contribute to society.

Living inside the Washington beltway must be a profoundly disorienting experience. Maybe there’s something in the Potomac River, maybe it’s just too much time in the world’s most self-absorbed echo chamber, or maybe it’s just the pressure of too much traffic. Honestly, I don’t know.

Dental disease isn’t usually top of mind in the national conversation about health care. However, it is a serious, chronic, infectious illness—and it is preventable. Consider this:

At next month’s Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference, consultant Nathan James and I are hosting a session, “Is Family Philanthropy Ready for Adventures in New Giving?” We’ll be discussing potential intersections between family phil

While at a food court for a late bite to eat, I overheard other diners talking about a young woman who had her unattended phone stolen. While some privately chided her for leaving it unattended, I started to think about how common it is for others to run into a similar situation.

On one of the most storied streets in urban Native America, you can see a dynamic future taking shape. Colorful banners along Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis proclaim the only Native American urban business district in the country.

When the mainstream media pay attention to Native American communities at all, they most often tell stories of trauma and tragedy. There is truth in many of those stories, of course, but we at Northwest Area Foundation see a different reality that also is true.

Right now the debate on the fiscal cliff is consuming mainstream media and all conversations in Washington, D.C. Deficit reduction, the cliff, and tax reform all have major implications for philanthropy.

In June, I had the pleasure of introducing four recent graduates of the Cleveland School District at the Cleveland Foundation’s annual meeting.

Despite having a steady job, a mom in South Carolina, who hopes to help her daughter go to college, cannot afford to pay rent in the city in which she works.

The Northern Virginia region includes Loudoun County, a traditionally rural area that has seen drastic suburbanization and growth in the past two decades.

The Connecticut Council on Philanthropy recently hosted a Creative Place Making Funders Symposium in Hartford. The day was full of innovative examples of how communities are reborn through creative partnerships.

Two years ago, Endeavor Foundation’s board of directors challenged staff to think beyond providing fund services and facilitated grantmaking by expanding our mission. Through a strategic planning process, we determined Endeavor should be a long-term advocate for Northwest Arkansas.

This year, Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary operating as a community foundation serving “Indian Country”—generally defined as the land and communities within American Indian reservation boundaries as well as off-reservation trust lands.

I first started working in the community foundation field more than 15 years ago. It goes without saying that I’m a big fan. I believe in this democratic model of philanthropy where the collective power of many creates powerful change.

It’s Community Foundation Week, a time to focus on philanthropy as the giving season warms up and the temperature outside cools down. Many of us look forward to evenings spent snuggled up under a warm blanket, sipping a hot drink, and settling in to catch up on some reading.

This past January, awards season wasn’t just in Hollywood. In west-central Minnesota, West Central Initiative (WCI) awarded a share of $75,000 to 15 of its component funds for successfully meeting WCI’s 25th Anniversary Endowment Challenge.

The city of Charleston, W.Va., is embarking on a new beginning as it molds a revolutionary program for young professionals: Early Dynamic Guided Engagement (EDGE).

In the early 1990s, I spent a year living and working in Uganda. One day I was with some friends driving back from a trip to one of the beautiful game parks there. It was late afternoon and not long before darkness would set in.

The Knight Digital Media Center is expanding its reach to help community foundations shape their strategies to inform and engage communities in the digital age.

Yesterday, Americans cast their vote for the future course of our nation. Many of our fellow citizens affected by Hurricane Sandy endured much more difficulty than normal in voting, some using flashlights to see their ballots.

Hurricane Sandy has once again brought disasters—and the desire to help—to the forefront.

Have you ever had to present a large amount of data to time-crunched colleagues? Instead of using tables or spreadsheets, think about using an infographic to tell your story. An infographic is a visual representation of data or information.

One of my most memorable moments from college was when I sat in a sea of more than 500 college students in PoliSci 101. From the back of the auditorium, a very small man stood up on stage speaking to all of us about the strength of the U.S.

Telluride, Colo., a picturesque historical mining town perched just below 9,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains, has a rich history of innovation, invention, and reinvention.

Since I became Council president and CEO, I have spent many hours talking with our members and other leaders engaged with philanthropic giving around the country. Many of you shared that the diversity of interests of Council members would be among my biggest challenges.

As the practice of impact investing matures, evolving from a peripheral concept to a mainstream practice, the momentum around this nascent industry is growing.

Dear Philanthropy Community,

There are 717 community foundations in the United States making grants of about $4.6 billion in their communities. I know because it’s on the cover of a publication about community foundations.

What I don’t know is why anyone would care.

For the next generation of philanthropists, I don’t think they’re going to ask themselves whether or not they should work in the private, public, or non-profit sector.  They’re going to wake up each day and ask themselves what impact am I going to make today.

I recently had an eye-opening experience that helped me realize that many organizations promote their content but do nothing to ensure that it is being utilized appropriately.

America’s charities face a brewing crisis with the upcoming comprehensive tax reform debate that is almost certain to envelop our nation.

Nonprofit charity: water recently launched its innovative, annual September Campaign, seeking to raise $1.7 million in order to bring clean, safe water to nearly 26,000 people in Rwanda.

As a young professional and a newcomer to the field of philanthropy, the sessions at the Council on Foundations Fall Conference in New Orleans earlier this month offered a lot in the way of introduction.

Our world has become increasingly dependent upon content to attract people’s attention. This content ranges from blogs on the Internet to television shows. Due to global shifts in our economy, economic developers have to work harder to attract companies and individual entrepreneurs.

What if the once-a-year “reveals” of a charity’s impact had the hype of the iPhone 5? What if millions of people blogged about program and performance upgrades developed during the past year by the most dynamic charity in the world?

Having spent three days at the Fall Conference for Community Foundations last week in New Orleans, a port city where the line between land and sea is ever-shifting, I’m thinking a lot about balance.

With fiscal crisis and a fragile economy the focus of concern in California, it is easy to overlook the state’s other challenges. But three troubling trends deserve attention because they threaten the well-being of Californians and the state’s prosperity for years to come.

We often think of grantees as people who provide a service or act as advocates. But are they the only ways grantees can make change? And are there other kinds of grantees worth considering?

Day two of the Fall Conference yielded several important insights, but the ones that moved me most began at lunch. To be honest, I get tired of talk about violence. It wears me out emotionally. It frustrates me about our society. It drains me.

Not a day has gone by since I joined the Council two months ago when I haven’t thought about the awesome responsibility and privilege I have to help make the Council an organization that fully reflects the promise of philanthropy and impact you generate.

E.B White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

The first day of the conference presented several interesting opportunities to expand our understanding of the issues community foundations face.

One of my core identities is "learner." In fact, three of my top five strengths (according the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool) have to do with collecting, savoring, and sharing information. I love the Fall Conference for all its different ways to experience learning.

Traveling from Northern New Hampshire to the Fall Conference in New Orleans offered me a birds-eye reminder of the rural-urban connections in our lives. And got me thinking about a slightly different role for community foundations.

Although philanthropic professionals have strong relationships with their donors and fund holders, they often have yet to develop relationships with the successor trustees or family members who are due to become the next generation of community foundation donors.

Throughout the sessions I attended today, one word seemed to be woven throughout various discussions. That word is “authenticity.” The central purpose of community foundations is to do good in the community.

“The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible.

As one who has been in the field as a community foundation CEO since 1994, I have seen many themes. We were sorted by asset size for many of our conversations in the belief that such distinctions defined our capabilities and philanthropic contributions.

I’m a native New Orleanian representing the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) attending the Fall Conference in New Orleans. Some might call it fate. I call it homecoming.

As a “newbie” to the community foundation field in 2007, the first thing I did was attend the ProNet annual meeting in San Francisco, where I met about 75 other program staff from across the country.

My brother-in-law, Alfredo, is a trauma paramedic. He works in an emergency room every weekend from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. He shares his workday the way I might share mine.

At this morning’s opening plenary, Grant Oliphant talked about the difference between a revenue model and a business model. A revenue model is how you make money, such as providing services to donors and charging a fee.

In preparation for the conference, I scanned the event schedule a few times for the sessions most relevant to my involvement in the community foundation world.

Do you ever wish that your foundation had more money to solve social problems and transform your community? As need grows faster than grant dollars, many foundations are making mission and impact investments in order to unlock new capital for social good.

Many people believe facilitation is a role that only designated individuals can play in meetings or planning sessions. But just as leadership is more about how you behave than what your title is, so is facilitation about the contributions you make regardless of your role.

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Within hours, it became one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

As our colleagues head to New Orleans this week for the Council on Foundation’s fall conference, the city’s community foundation is serving as a great example of investing in ways to keep residents informed about local issues.

As I continue to reflect on the Council’s recent publication, Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Corporate Philanthropy, I am reminded of author Chris Pinney’s suggestion tha

Despite coming from different backgrounds and experiences, it was clear the hundreds of attendees at the Multicultural Oral Health Summit all shared a common vision of increased access to quality ora

As the current chair and webmaster for an affinity group, I decided to create a Flash-based website because I believed it would be more aesthetically pleasing than a site coded in regular HTML.

It’s a continuing debate with foundation management: What are we going to do with our donor-advised funds (DAF)?

Do you grow this area with time and resources? And if so, are the risks finally being offset by a greater return at the foundation level?

In my last job, the learning curve seemed to remain vertical for much of my tenure, occasionally even tipping backwards.

Though the scalding heat of summer is likely to last for at least another month in Arkansas, the summer season is ending for many students as they prepare to return to school.

What do Texas preschooler Owen Hernandez and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have in common?  As you’ll see during the Learning Lab<!--[if !supportNestedAnchors]--><!--[endif]-->, “Business Champions for Young

Most Latin American countries continue with high GDP growth rates amid the global financial crisis. While the nonprofit sector in these countries is among the smallest in the world, these nations are on the cusp of significant philanthropic transformation.

For those unfamiliar with the term “impact investing,” it refers to investments intended to generate both measurable social or environmental impact along with financial return. Think of it simply as aligning an investor’s portfolio with his or her personal values and ideals.

Two years ago, the Foundation Registry i3 was a lifesaver for me.

It’s the time of year when we begin to think about the new Congress and our legislative agenda at the Council on Foundations. To help us get started, I am asking for your support by filling out the Philanthropic Policy Priorities Survey.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed two interesting trends in philanthropy that are particularly resonant with community foundations.

Twelve years ago, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation tried what it thought was an unconventional move. Anxious to jump-start the downtown area, the foundation convened community and political leaders to devise a strategy for reclaiming the area where our city was born.

More than 30 U.S. community foundations have taken a fresh look at aging in recent years. And they are bringing a new view to their communities—one that considers older adults to be a vast, untapped resource for social change.

Passion, integrity, and engagement: These are the key ingredients to successful outcomes or growth in a community (well, everywhere, really). It takes passion to get involved and make changes.

In the U.S., more than half of the children younger than a year old are of color and almost one in every 10 counties is majority-minority. By 2023, the majority of U.S. children will be of color. And by 2042, people of color will comprise the majority of the entire U.S. population.

I’m feeling “old.” Not as opposed to “young,” but as opposed to “new.” I think it’s all this talk in our sector lately about innovation. Whatever happened to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” It’s just oh so sexy and attention-grabbing to label something as “new” even when it’s not.

The Fall Conference for Community Foundations* is fast approaching. I want to make sure that you are aware of several opportunities at the conference to learn about the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™.

Every year at the Fall Conference for Community Foundations, members of the Council’s government relations and legal team provide a legislative and regulatory update, including implications for the philanthropic sector.

We know donor-advised funds (DAFs) are the engine of growth for many community foundations, but what do we know about the role they play in our communities? This is an often-discussed and debated topic among community foundation staff and boards.

Why do community foundation CEOs pursue “community leadership” as a key organizing strategy in their foundations?

Because there was a leadership void in our community and we realized we were uniquely positioned to step up.

Last week, The Merck Company Foundation launched a new three-year, $3 million initiative, the HIV Care Collaborative for Underserved Populations in the United States, to help the local health

On Monday, DRF announced a $10 million grant to fund an entrepreneurship initiative to benefit the residents of the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County in Virginia and Caswell County in North Carolina, the foundation’s Dan River Region footprint.

Following the success of Kentucky’s inaugural Foundations 101 meeting, I was part of a group of several funders in Alabama who joined together earlier this month to reach out to the local staffs of our elected officials for our own 101 session.

After a lot of encouragement from the field, the IRS is ready to issue new regulations regarding  program-related investments (PRIs). The regulations don’t change the rules governing PRIs.

In an earlier post, Susanne Norgard, executive director of The Community Foundation of Mendocino County (where I serve as board president), mentioned that no board member “walks into a community foundation fully understanding what we

The prevalence of computers in modern society has led to a greater need for technology-based curricula and wired classrooms for students of all levels. Top online PhD programs are now available, but some primary schools don’t have a single computer.

Several months ago, I received an opportunity not afforded every emerging philanthropist—I attended the Council on Foundations Annual Conference, which gives newer professionals a platform to interact with seasoned persons in the field and newcomers alike.

Collaborating for greater impact starts with nonprofit leaders who develop wide-reaching social networks, communicate clearly about their missions and objectives, and are flexible about how those objectives are met.

I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper?

In our role at FSG, we are professional advocates for strategy as an essential aspect of leadership to advance community solutions.

June 29, 2012 marked the third anniversary of the sentencing of Bernard Madoff, mastermind of the largest ever Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

As expected, this month’s Rio+20 conference and the People’s Summit were vast and challenging to navigate, with more than 500 side events to the official conference.

If one can accept that mega confabs such as Rio+20 are inevitably about more talks, then the text (outcome) of the negotiating document that was finalized at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, will not be surprising (or shocking).

In his acceptance speech for the 2012 Nicholas P.

The Creativity Conundrum in Public Education Leadership

We are marking the first anniversary of Philanthropy’s Promise with a wonderful milestone: 125 leading U.S.

 

Danny Murphy - Coauthor

That’s an old saying, but in Cincinnati, the decision to adopt employer-driven career pathways as a workforce strategy had many “parents.”

Preparing my slides for today’s “What’s Next for Green Careers?” session at the Second Annual National Fund meeting in Cincinnati gave me the opportunity to reflect on SkillWorks Green Jobs Initiative activities from

It’s safe to say the time for rethinking the national workforce development system is way overdue: The reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is now 12 years overdue and counting—with no one expecting it anytime soon.

Living in Anchorage, Alaska, I am reminded on a daily basis that freedom is not free. As an important part of our community, the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard have a significant presence that transcends their service to our nation.

A lot can happen in a year. Twelve months ago, Osama bin Laden was the most wanted man in the world and “occupy” was just a word, not a movement.

At Placer Community Foundation, our small staff of just 3.1 full-time employees means we need a staffing model that works incredibly well. We made a couple of decisions early on that really helped shape how we staff.

Should Congress direct 80 percent of the upcoming Clean Water Act civil fine from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to coastal ecosystem restoration and rebuilding local economies in the coastal regions of the affected States (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida)?

How should a mid-sized foundation position its initiatives in this age of austerity and how can one county and community foundation influence state-level decisions?

Hundreds of miles from urban centers like Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans, the five counties served by the Community Foundation of East Mississippi are a textbook definition of “rural.” Cotton was king here years ago, but ever since it left—along with a good deal of the manufacturing industry—m

Time flies when you are doing good work. The Danville Regional Foundation launched its Make It Happen! (MIH!) program in November 2010 to show that everybody can make a difference through incremental changes, no matter how small.

It’s been about a month since I returned from Los Angeles, where I attended the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) National Conference and the Council on Foundations Annual Conference.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting.

With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development.

It was suggested in a half-joking manner that I should write a blog on my last day at the Council. At first I dismissed it, thinking it would be cheesy.

On May 15, the San José City Council approved a strong municipal ordinance that will curb the impact of predatory payday lending on residents of America’s 10th largest city.

What business does a community foundation have hawking for-profit deals to its donors and other community members?  How does it improve the quality of life in their community?  How does it promote the spirit and practice of philanthropy and service?   Well it turns out, some community foundations

I recently attended the 2012 Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) and the Council on Foundation conferences in Los Angeles. I must say that attending both of them were turning points in my career.

As the CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville, I travel to Washington, D.C., each year and make the rounds as part of Foundations on the Hill, supported by the Council on Foundations and the Southeastern Council of Foundations.

For today’s post, we’ve asked two leaders to weigh in on topics of interest to young, growing community foundations.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Center for Digital Information’s session on philanthropy and the digital public dialogue at theCouncil on Founda

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about how funders, like all humans, are programmed by millions of years of evolution to hate failure. But our DNA hasn’t kept pace with the changing times.

Last year, influenced by the hype around Darwin’s 150th anniversary, I developed an interest in evolutionary theory. I read a few books about it, including the masterful Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and since then I’ve been kind of obsessed.

“The movement towards outcomes-driven philanthropy has done a lot to diminish creativity,” concluded one CEO at a recent GMA Foundations’ NPO Conversation on creativity.

I recently signed a check for our 2012 Council on Foundations dues. Since I’m the chair of the Council that is probably not surprising. But that’s not my day job. My paycheck comes from being the CEO of Berks County Community Foundation.

In 2009, Lumina Foundation set a goal: we wanted to help 60 percent of Americans obtain a high-quality postsecondary degree or be credential by 2025. We began reporting on progress toward the “big goal” in a series called A Stronger Nation through Higher Education.

I never imagined that I would actually be the inaugural winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award until my name was announced during the awards ceremony in Las Vegas. My immediate reaction was to make the “I Love You” sign, because love is the reason I was there in the first place.

On the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots, the opening plenary session at the Council’s Annual Conference, “Realization, Rethinking, and Reinvention in the Wake of Crisis,” looked at how crisis has become a catalyst

With input from IBM and nine other leading companies, the Council on Foundations just launched an ambitious initiative to revitalize and redefine the roles of corporate foundations and philanthropy.

How can a foundation CEO set a tone and culture that strike the right balance between rational, disciplined, and quantitative grantmaking and passion-driven, responsive, and intuitive approaches?  A packed room of CEOs grappled with this question at the Council’s Annual Conference during the “Str

Having just returned from the Council on Foundations Annual Conferencethis past week in Los Angeles, I was able to join with 1,300 of my colleagues in philanthropy to discuss the challenges and trends we are seeing.

The closing plenary session at the conference, “What’s the Big Idea?

I am one of the fortunate recipients of a Stay in LA scholarship, a partnership between Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) and the Council on Foundations to allow Next Gens and emerging leaders (the new affectionate t

During “Supporting Our Military Families: Partnerships, Innovation, and Entry Points,” a session at the Annual Conference, Bess Bendet of the Blue Shield of California Foundation shared that the she has tried to convene funders who support programs for military families and veterans, but turnout

One of the best panels at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference, “Supporting Our Military Families: Partnerships, Innovation, and Entry Points,” addressed how philanthropy can most effectively address the needs of military families.

I’m writing this on May Day and, like every other day, too many working families in south Los Angeles are spending up to 50 percent of their earnings on housing.

If you haven’t already, you should start thinking about how transparent you want your organization to be. The Philanthropy Roundtable began looking at this topic and is about to publish a short book, by John Tyler of the Kauffman Foundation, about all of the intricacies involved.

Feeling stagnant? Overwhelmed with today’s societal problems? Concerned we’re not making progress and reaching our full potential? Well, please find solace in knowing that global philanthropy is growing by leaps and bounds.

At the end of the morning discussion about the power of celebrities in support of causes they care about on day two of the conference, we got a beautiful surprise:  the high, sweet, and brilliant tones of Robert Vijay Gupta’s violin reverberating throughout the ballroom.

“Many people who are being left behind are from communities being left behind. If we don’t come to terms with the racial divide, we will cause a generational divide,” said Angela Glover Blackwell. Wow. What a great way to get the blood pumping at the morning plenary.

At this morning’s plenary on the closing day of the 2012 Annual Conference, moderator Kai Ryssdal (host and senior editor, NPR’s Marketplace) facilitated an insightful panel discussion about America’s “vanishing” middle class and how philanthropy can help.

As someone who studies philanthropy, I listen with a particular set of ears to accounts of innovative work by grantmakers, including the many fascinating stories at the Council’s Annual Conference this week. Listening with these ears can be helpful at times, really annoying at others.

For early risers yesterday, the Council’s corporate members hosted a discussion and brainstorming around a just-released report “Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leading Corporate Philanthropy” (available at www.cof.org/corp

Nowhere is the impact of U.S. deindustrialization and a shifting economic base more apparent than in south Los Angeles. Yesterday’s off-site visit to the neighborhood revealed the ways that changing demographics and economic challenges are deeply intertwined.

I am one of the fortunate practitioners new to philanthropy who was able to attend both the EPIP and Council conferences this year in L.A. At EPIP, I was also lucky to see Dr. Bob Ross speak about the state of philanthropy. Dr.

While I have enjoyed making the contacts and hanging out in the CEO track sessions, I decided to session hop on Monday afternoon. 

Foundations in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Detroit have faced conditions before and after crises that are all but unimaginable. For example, Detroit has enough vacant and unused land to fit inside San Francisco, more vacant land than any city in the U.S.

If there is an epicenter of the decline of a city and its loss of an economic base, the candidates start with Detroit, where the population has plummeted 25 percent in the last decade to 714,000–this for a city whose population was 1.85 million in 1950.

What an amazing first day of the conference!

Here are some key messages that are a theme at this year’s Annual Conference:

“Roles that I’ve played.” Geena Davis opened her remarks during this morning’s plenary session by stating that her philanthropy is often rooted in roles that she has played. It struck a chord for me.

Investing in people feels very good. Carrie Avery of the Durfee Foundation, the moderator of the session “Supporting Individuals as Innovators and Change Agents,” described these types of programs as the “R & D” of the nonprofit sector. How do foundations invest in people?

This year’s Paul Ylvisaker Public Policy Award winner, Linda Reed, president and CEO of the Montana Community Foundation, delivered a formal talk on the relationship of rural philanthropy and public policy.

After my time at the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) conference this past week, I walked away with a lot of reflection points.

Saturday was wonderful preconference kick-off to what will undoubtedly be another great Council on Foundations event. Collaboration, common agendas, and community engagement were key themes for both the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and Global Grantmakers.

Panels of talking heads during conferences are all well and good, especially when they are saying something of importance that we don’t know. However the audiences at Council on Foundations conferences often have knowledge and perspectives that are just as interesting as the speakers.

The beginning of opening session is just a few short minutes away. I arrive early to find a seat while trying to avoid the strobe light clearly flashing above my head. As I loiter in the lobby, here are some general impressions thus far.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had ev

Last year’s Council on Foundations Annual Meeting was held before the Occupy Wall Street movement highlighted the role and power of corporate America in this nation’s wealth divide.

Let me introduce myself: I’m a young leader and a passionate advocate for social justice.

Each one of us has 86,400 seconds per day to live, work, love, play and/or fritter away. Indeed time is the nonrenewable resource.

The Council on Foundations Annual Conference brings together grantmakers from all over the world to learn from each other and discuss best practices and critical issues in philanthropy.

Especially in our current funding climate, partnership and authentic engagement with those we seek to serve is critical to ensuring that limited philanthropic resources are invested wisely and deliver the greatest possible impact for those most in need.

For the past two decades, the James A. Joseph Lecture has been one of the intellectual high points of the Council on Foundations Annual Conference.

During the second panel I attended, I really liked the New Field Foundation’s approach to grantmaking and their utilization of local advisers. It is very sensitive to every aspect of their work and the impact it has on all stakeholders. Bravo. 

I attended a great panel this morning.

Conferences were a way of life in a previous career. The land of higher education was a vast and strange continent, but as a seasoned and wise elder I could pass seamlessly among the inhabitants.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Madonna. Really, I do. But for a while there, anytime I searched the topic of global philanthropy, the only news that surfaced focused on Madonna and her effort to build a number of schools in Malawi.

There’s an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That’s true in life and true in philanthropy.

Wayne Gretzky famously said that a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. These are instructive words for philanthropic foundations and other groups confronting fundamental and rapid shifts in the communication landscape.

“What’s past is prologue.” –Shakespeare

“History is more or less bunk.” –Henry Ford

Did you know illnesses resulting from water contamination are the leading cause of human sickness and death worldwide? In just the past decade, more children have died due to a lack of access to safe drinking water than all the people who have died in battle since World War II.

Recently I was sitting in Manhattan with four extraordinary women. Down the table from me was Jennifer Buffet, president and cochair of the NoVo Foundation; Catherine B.

I landed in Cairo earlier today a few hours ago expecting to see significant changes. In many ways everything has changed yet on the drive from the airport to the hotel in Zamalek to across the Nile, Cairo is still the same.

In the United States, community foundations serve tens of thousands of people, administer more than $49 billion in charitable funds, and address the core concerns of more than 725 communities and regions.

As my colleague Peter Pennekamp from the Humboldt Area Foundation says, when it comes to community leadership it’s not always the most pressing issue that you need to be working on; it’s the issue where there’s energy and heat. In a word: tension.

Here in Massachusetts, attention is turning to the lack of philanthropic support for small cities with high poverty rates.

The International Youth Foundation recently released a report that looks at the growing education and social challenges facing youth around the world.

Florida Philanthropic Network led a team of 14 Florida grantmakers to Washington, D.C., on March 21-22, 2012, for visits with Florida’s full 27-member congressional delegation and their staffs, as part of the annual Foundations on the Hill event,

On the heels of Foundations on the Hill and many blogs on the topic, some of you may be scratching your heads asking, can a foundation really talk to legislators, educate them about the issues important to your foundation’s mission, and advocate to better position philanthropy?

Like many of us, I hate to lose when I play a game, whether it is cards, sports, or video games.

A few years ago, a Guatemalan organization called the Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (AFEDES), an International Development Exchange (IDEX) grant partner since 2005, discovered something troubling: Its programs were not making much of an impact.

At the Council on Foundations’ Global Grantmaking Institute (GGI) this week, participants are examining the essentials in the effective global grantmaker’s toolkit: our hearts, minds, stomachs, and ears.

 

As universities and graduate schools offer more degrees in social responsibility, the numbers of young people interested in careers that help the poor is growing, adding to the ranks of public policy, public health, and other academic disciplines dedicated to ending human suffering.

As foundations work to foster and build relationships with their elected officials and staff, both at home in their districts, 2012 presents a rare challenge to keep in mind: redistricting. The person who is your congressional representative today may not represent you a year from now.

My badge at Foundations on the Hill last week sported a blue ribbon that read “First-time Attendee.” Ah, a newbie, fresh face, initiate. Welcome to Washington.

In the news business, some of the best advice I ever got from an editor was: “Show me. Don’t tell me.”

Ask anyone to name the greatest philanthropists of all time – Jewish or otherwise – and they will invariably identify people known for giving away huge sums of money.

Roughly 80 percent of the coastal mangroves around the coastal Colombian town of Tumaco have been lost through deforestation, urban development, and contamination from frequent oil spills.

Over 200 foundations across the United States, next week will converge on D.C. to strengthen partnerships among the philanthropic and public sectors.

“Los Angeles: America, Only Sooner”

John Deasy, our dynamic new superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), recently used that phrase to describe Los Angeles at a recent convening of funders.

Let’s have a conversation about how to allocate a philanthropic dollar between the ounce of prevention and the pound of cure. Philanthropy must respond to existing needs. Hunger, homelessness, disease, and disasters cannot be ignored. When, however, should present needs yield to the future?

As the new year sprints forward, I am struck by the amount of new thinking and new literature surrounding the topic of corporate social responsibility, particularly philanthropy. In meteorological terms, a new weather front has arrived and continues to generate unsettling conditions.

As I am now days away from my one-year anniversary at the Council, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the state of the Re: Philanthropy blog and where we go from here.

What does Jeremy Lin have to do with the future of philanthropy?

As a librarian, one of the services I provide is digital content procurement and licensing. Part of that process is negotiating the most beneficial terms of use for the organization.

 

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We hear that phrase and understand that the most difficult tasks are accomplished one step at a time, with resolve and long-term dedication. And I would add, with the help of each other.

Every year, International Corporate Philanthropy Day is observed on the last Monday in February to “raise awareness of corporate-community partnerships and inspire businesses around the world to engage further.” But did you know that the three most important words in the previous sentence are cor

I’m just back from an incredible visit to the Angkor Temple complex in Cambodia.

Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation announced combined community giving of $38 million in 2011, compared with $36.8 million in 2010. The annual giving results were released in recognition of International Corporate Philanthropy Day, which celebrates business-community partnerships around the world.

TIME magazine provocatively named “The Protester” as its 2011 “Person of the Year” for its riveting influence on last year’s social and political unfolding in Egypt, Syria, and Wall Street.

It’s International Corporate Philanthropy Day, when the business community celebrates achievements in philanthropy and corporate community partnerships.

I just returned from the Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference in Miami, a three-day event focused on education, the arts, impact investing, advocacy and family dynamics. Amidst all of that great discussion, I was struck again by the importance of communicating family legacy.

I had the privilege this week to join my first Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference. It was a remarkable gathering of some 600 philanthropic leaders and advisers from across the U.S. and international Foundations.

Attending this week’s annual Knight Foundation Media Learning Seminar in Miami, we were struck not only by how much has been accomplished by the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), but also by how much the conversation has evolved.

I had the pleasure of presenting as part of a panel on social media at the Council on Foundations’ Family Philanthropy Conference in Miami.

Same-sex spouses, life partners, adopted children, second marriages, religious conservatives, political liberals. Today’s families are increasingly diverse and families with foundations are no exception.

This past week marked my first experience attending the national Council on Foundation’s annual Family Philanthropy Conference. I found myself wearing multiple hats-representing the Council on Foundations as a board member, as well as SWIF, our region and our donors.

I had the pleasure of spending the past four days in Miami Beach at the Council on Foundations’ annual Family Philanthropy Conference.

As community foundations become active leaders in local news and information, many are learning they don’t need to go it alone.

I used to question the value of conferences. They are expensive when you add up the flights, hotels, meals – Isn’t that money better spent on programmatic work that directly serves our grantees? As foundations we rightly and continually scrutinize our administrative expenses.

One of the biggest topics in family philanthropy has to do with engaging the next generation. How do multi-generational family foundations find common ground amongst board members with very different worldviews and experiences?

In the last 24 hours, participants at the Family Philanthropy Conference were treated to a trifecta of inspiration.  Last night, a flamenco dancer romanced us, young classical musicians made our spirit soar, and an artist schooled in the traditions of Theater of the Oppressed moved some us to tea

Ron Clark has 55 rules for the kids that he teaches at his school in south Atlanta each day.

The first day of the Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference is now officially in the books and one word seems to arise again and again in conversations and sessions: transparency.

Miami is wonderful. It’s also where the 2012 COF Family Philanthropy Conference is happening. Although we are only one day in, I can safely say that traveling from California was well worth it.

“…outside resources will be much more effectively used if the local community is itself fully mobilized and invested, and if it can define the agendas for which additional resources must be obtained.”

In the process of preparing for the Council Learning Lab on social media at the Family Philanthropy Conference, I came across some pretty interesting data: 14 percent of dog owners have created a Facebook account for their pet!

If you’ve ever come to one of the Council’s wonderful conferences, you already know that connections happen in the elevators and spaces around the panels.

Coming into the Council’s Family Philanthropy Conference, I’m looking to follow two strains of curiosity. First, I want to see how other foundations have built collaborative community relationships that expand beyond traditional roles of grantor and grantees.

I’m always excited for the Family Philanthropy Conference. The plenaries feature dynamic speakers who often offer a philanthropic perspective that I hadn’t considered before.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords from Arizona and Louis D. Brown, a young African-American man growing up in Dorchester, Mass., were both shot. Gifford’s shooter was white, mentally ill and “acted alone.” Louis’ killer was young, black, and possibly involved with a gang.

Most family foundations tend to conduct their grantmaking by continuing the discussion until everyone either agrees or at least agrees to commit to a decision. This approach can be time consuming, but rewarding.  What happens, though, when you can’t all agree?

One more sign that philanthropy is entering the mainstream of American popular culture is its intense involvement with this year’s Super Bowl.

There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters, and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets already stretched to the max.

Florida Philanthropic Network is pleased to once again be leading the state’s delegation to Washington, D.C., for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), March 21-22.

I admit it. I’m a policy wonk who happens to serve a foundation that understands the importance of public policy and advocacy work. We consider weighing in where our participation may be a catalyst for positive change in our state, our region, and our nation.

“If we are not at the table, we run the risk of being on the menu.” How I remember that comment from last year’s Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). Sure enough, we had a close call this past season with efforts to trim the charitable deduction.

On March 21-22, organized philanthropy will gather in Washington, D.C., for Foundations on the Hill, two days of face-to-face meetings with our nation’s legislators.

I was a member of the third class of diversity fellows. I value many things about the fellowship.

Prior to starting as a Proteus Fund Diversity Fellow, I spent five years in my hometown serving the city that provided me with the platform to become an educated professional of color.

I entered the field of philanthropy through a theological framework. With idealism guiding my path, I started a journey in search of a meaningful and purposeful vocation.

I work with the program team at a regional education foundation, where it is often my job to provide feedback to applicants who were not selected to receive grants. These conversations are always difficult, but sometimes they can be particularly hard.

At Proteus Fund we’ve pondered how to address the challenge of increasing the number of professionals of color working in philanthropy, not just to increase the diversity of faces around the table but to expand the life experiences and perspectives that foundation professionals bring to their dec

Many observers view 2012 as a year when little will get done legislatively, as the candidates and political parties jockey for position in advance of the presidential election.

On Thursday, the Council held its fourth monthly Twitter Chat - or #PhilChat - in partnership with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to pose the question: Is Philanthropy Succ

On January 9th, Wall Street Journal blogger Veronica Dagher posted an article highlighting the opportunity for philanthropic donors with Donor Advise

Size is one of Rhode Island’s secret weapons, and it enables the strategic partnerships and relationships that are at the heart of getting things done. The Race to the Top story is no exception.

As boards of education across the country begin their 2012-13 budget processes, city residents should know that private investment in public schools is making a significant difference in helping children from low-income homes excel in school.

A new kind of charitable giver is emerging in the mobile age. 

I looked down at my phone as it began to ring and I screamed with frustration, “Seriously? Again?!? Don’t they realize that it is 3 p.m. on a Friday?” That was the tagline I was known all too well for when I did housing relocations for tenants.

Based on what I’ve witnessed, many nonprofit and philanthropic professionals are lax in paying attention to copyright because they assume their nonprofit status allows them to use materials any way they see fit.

How do foundations make giving decisions?

In my humble opinion, Millennials bring together all of the aspects of a perfect donor.

I’ve long been wary about in-house videos. Because, let’s face it, videos can be tough to pull off.

by Suzanne Skees

by Elizabeth Carrott Minnigh

by John Harvey

The Council on Foundations surveyed some of its leading members active in the global grantmaking sphere to learn what they see on the horizon. Here are their top 10 predictions for 2012:

by Jillian C. Vukusich
 

by Emily Jones Rushing

So how did you find out about community foundations? For many generous people, the answer is: their lawyer, their accountant, their financial adviser, the key professional they trust to help them make a difference with their charitable dollars.

by Erin Rowley

There are a lot of things to love about Centre County, Pa. Beautiful natural features. Ample opportunities to socialize. An open and accepting attitude among residents.

by Astrid "Oz" Spies

In mid-2008, The Denver Foundation started to receive calls from food pantries, reporting that demand was up 20, 30, even 40 percent.

by Brenda Chumley

On behalf of the entire team at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Community Foundation Week! We're pleased to celebrate by sharing how we work with other community foundations across the country.

by Carl Little

Last week was a quiet one at the Maine Community Foundation — not! Between debriefing about the annual Inspiring Philanthropy evening and preparing for the upcoming Feed a Family campaign, we barely had time to celebrate Community Foundation Week.

by Mary Galeti

by Jorgen Thomsen

The conservation of ecosystems is one of the most compelling environmental challenges of the 21st century.

by Victoria Dunning

by Dan Siegel and Jenny Yancey

While the Gates Foundation has raised the bar for global philanthropy, today's youth will revolutionize global giving in the coming decades.

by Carina Wendel and Rebecca Graves

by Carol Thompson Cole

At ING, we have developed a strong corporate responsibility (CR) program that is enhanced through engagement in all levels of our company.  What have we learned? Buy-in and communications are important on a variety of levels. Tying CR directly to the CEO is critical.

Corporate philanthropy functions are increasingly emphasizing return on investment (RoI) in their grantmaking.

The Council on Foundations’ Corporate Philanthropy 2012 project calls for a “reinvention” of corporate philanthropy, in part through a core group of leaders/practitioners who are willing to “guide, adopt, test, and validate new management approaches.”

Major societal challenges-poverty, hunger, inconsistent access to high-quality education and health care-adversely affect hundreds of millions of people on our planet. The business community can play a vital role in addressing these complex problems.

As the Council on Foundations plans for 2012, we’re looking for opportunities to partner with others to find effective ways to address the profound social and environmental challenges we all face.

Earlier this month, a group of corporate citizenship leaders representing a range of industries assembled in New York to answer this question: What must we do to transform the corporate philanthropy and corporate citizenship fields?