RE: Philanthropy Blog

It’s International Corporate Philanthropy Day, when the business community celebrates achievements in philanthropy and corporate community partnerships. At General Mills, we’re celebrating by releasing the results of our global volunteer survey, which shows that our employees, no matter where they work around the world, are deeply committed to improving the lives of our neighbors in the communities where we work and live.

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. The program and various highlights are detailed on the conference website.

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. It was just a few years ago that Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced the KCIC and its Knight Information Challenge Grant program during the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations. This open invitation encouraged community foundations and other place-based funders to help local community media discover and define their community’s information needs.

I had the pleasure of presenting as part of a panel on social media at the Council on Foundations’ Family Philanthropy Conference in Miami. The session, “Tools of Engagement: Family Dynamics and Social Networking,” covered social networking as a critical piece of a foundation’s communications strategy.

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. The changing nature of your family may be creating challenges to harmonious and effective governance. Fortunately, the experience of other foundations is a laboratory of solutions.

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 found the many conversations and connections I’ve had this week to be incredibly valuable for southwest Minnesota and SWIF’s entire family of 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. A variety of different partnership models are emerging and they are detailed in a new report by FSG for Knight Foundation.

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. We owe that to our donors and grantees.