Leadership

When my grandparents, Sam and Helen Walton, set the course for our family’s philanthropic vision in the late 1980s, they set out to make lasting change by empowering individuals. My grandfather often said there is no limit to what can be accomplished when people are given opportunity and incentive, and my grandmother reinforced that giving back was the most important undertaking our family could do together.

Historically, community foundations have worked to create change by making grants to local nonprofits, advocacy groups, and other organizations. But a new breed of funders is showing how, by serving in yet another role, they can foster change that is more comprehensive, more responsive to residents’ needs, and, hopefully, more enduring. This role involves reaching into the very roots of the community to its people, and empowering them.

Recently, I saw the power of what happens when you put a few dozen foundation CEOs in a room together to discuss the future. They generate as many questions for each other as answers, and, as the head of the Council on Foundations, I’d say that’s a great thing for the communities philanthropy serves. After all, learning and leading together is how lasting solutions are made.

Immigration reform is a hot topic on the national scene as the 2016 presidential election looms. While no consensus legislation has emerged on Capitol Hill to date, our guests will discuss how funders can play a role in educating policymakers on the impacts of pro and con policies. Get an update on federal Executive Branch actions to implement the President's 2014 Executive Order that focused on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks. Explore what funders can do to promote sensible policies that insure fair treatment of immigrants and their families.

As autumn begins, the research team at the Council inevitably sees an increase in the number of foundations seeking data on the salaries, benefits, and administrative expenses of their peers. There is no more comprehensive study of these trends than the Council’s Grantmakers Salary & Benefits Report (GSB). That’s why we’re pleased to announce the release of the 2015 Salary Tables!

Foundations use a variety of models in managing their investments. But given the pursuit of higher risk-adjusted returns, many foundations are exploring different ways to access the expertise they need and to manage increasingly complex investment portfolios. During this webinar, we explore the results from the Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Investments, which provides data on how private and community foundations are using professional staff, consultants, managers, to oversee their investments. We also take a closer look at the increased use of outsourced chief investment officers (OCIOs) by a number of institutions, and the considerations that boards and investment committees must make before pursuing this path.

In philanthropy we’ve long known that we play a unique role by addressing society’s most pressing challenges at their root. Our work is distinct from charity – focused less on meeting immediate needs and more on tackling the underlying causes. And we’re well positioned to take risks to figure out what strategies work best to solve social problems, something that companies and other players beholden to greater political and consumer pressures can’t always do.