RE: Philanthropy Blog

Today, the Council on Foundations is releasing its 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report. The most comprehensive source on national foundation staff composition and compensation, the report provides us with an opportunity for self-reflection about our individual management practices. It also serves as a stark reminder of the demographic changes the country and field are experiencing.

An engaged group of seventy funders came together January 27 for a learning forum hosted in Los Angeles by the Council on Foundations and Southern California Grantmakers entitled, “Politics, Policy, and Philanthropy: How Your Funding Priorities Could be Impacted This Year.” The 2016 election cycle is already well underway and with it comes unique opportunities and challenges affecting the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors at the federal, state and local levels.

As parts of our country face extreme cold and snow while others are still recovering from last summer’s floods, fires, and tornadoes, we are constantly reminded the immediate effects natural disasters can have on our communities.

Humble. If there were one word that ought to drive philanthropists, that’s it. I am not saying it is always a word that does drive us. I am saying it ought to be.

Low-income families typically have few options for emergency cash, forcing many to rely on high-cost payday loans for unexpected financial needs. But these loans, which are disproportionately marketed to low-income and minority communities, lead to repeated cash shortages that drive consumers to take out successive payday loans, trapping them in vicious cycles of debt.

Sophia Guevara recently had the opportunity to interview Emily Kessler, the interim director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. In this interview, Emily shares how she got her start in philanthropy and what she is hoping to do to help emerging professionals and increase the value of an EPIP membership.

Economic development is at the center of the Maine Community Foundation’s strategic priorities. We believe greater access to lower cost capital will allow entrepreneurs and innovators from both the nonprofit and for-profit world to grow enterprises and expand projects that build off our natural assets, revitalize our downtowns, and strengthen our economy.

Last week more than 200 foundation leaders, policymakers, academics, entrepreneurs, and experts came together at George Washington University (GWU) for an invitation-only gathering to advance the development of what many call the “fourth sector”—for-benefit organizations that primarily pursue social or environmental aims, while raising a substantial proportion of their revenue through earned income or commercial activities. The Federal Reserve Board, the University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy, the Urban Institute, and The B Team convened the event.

Americans donated an estimated $335 billion to charitable causes, and foundations an estimated $50 billion in 2013 according to Giving USA. These numbers validate President John F. Kennedy’s notion that philanthropy is “a jewel of an American tradition.”

Last week, the Milstein Commission, a national initiative co-chaired by Steve Case and Carly Fiorina, released a report, Can Startups Save the American Dream? The report highlighted over how the past quarter-century, startups and small businesses accounted for 65% of net job creation, yet today, job creation among startups is at its lowest point since 1980.