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 by political affiliation or private interests. They are uniquely positioned to take the long view on communities’ growth and progress. As community foundations delve into these new roles, it is important that we take stock of where we are and use data and community input as the base on which to drive forward innovation within our organizations.
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
Are you making technology harder than it needs to be? If you are in an executive leadership position at a community foundation, the answer to this question is probably yes. Why is that? Why do we cringe, ever so slightly, when we hear the word? Technology often seems overwhelming and complicated. And much of the technology we need today is based in an online environment, which adds to our perception of its complexity. So we are sometimes tempted to delegate technology to the people on our teams who have more detailed expertise than we do.
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. At the Council on Foundations Conference on Community Foundations in San Diego, come explore these ideas in a highly interactive session, “Serve to Solve: 4 Funder Strategies to Improve Returns-on-Investment & Partnerships.”
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. Three leading foundation executives and the director of San Diego’s Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention will spotlight the wide range of routes the foundation community can take into the violence prevention/gun violence reduction arena during the 2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations.
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. She wanted to be sure to cover the most important and interesting topics in Maine, which has one of the oldest populations of any U.S. state.
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. Or, if you cannot afford those tiles, you can make a mosaic of discarded tile shards. It winds up far more beautiful and functional than the fine tiles.” Networks function just like the mosaic Haskell described - each piece of the network connects to and supports the other to produce better results than a single organization ever could on its own.
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.