Leadership

Last week, I got to see philanthropy in action on a great trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. After just a few days of meeting with philanthropic leaders in Western Michigan, I had new energy, new ideas, and more proof that collaboration is driving the field forward.

The year I was born, 1963, being gay was officially deemed a mental illness by the medical establishment. Same-sex relationships were illegal in every state, save Illinois. The federal government maintained a policy that prohibited the hiring of "known perverts,” then referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

Social change transpires at a blistering pace, in both promising and discouraging trajectories. After growing up in isolation in South Dakota and cutting my teeth decades ago as an LGBTQ human rights activist, I’m gob-smacked and elated by today’s Supreme Court decision.

Working with our colleagues who understand the value of philanthropy, the Council's President & CEO Vikki Spruill co-wrote a letter to the editor with senior leaders from both United Way Worldwide and The Jewish Federations of North America.

This week, American Bar Association (ABA) has selected the Council’s Senior Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs Suzanne Friday for its prestigious “Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award” in recognition of “distinguished service by a nonprofit – in-house counsel.”

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.

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.