Council staff are back in D.C. after a whirlwind Annual Conference in Dallas last month, where we were joined by more than 1000 attendees from around the world. You can see conference highlights at cof.org/2017annual. Thank you to all of our global speakers and especially to our global conference sponsors: Walmart Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and CAF America.
Global sessions and topics were woven throughout the conference. You can watch the full video of our annual Global Reception and Dinner, which focused on the issues and opportunities facing women and girls. The evening was moderated by Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation, and featured an inspiring panel of women activists: Swanee Hunt, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria and Chair of the Hunt Alternatives Fund, Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, and Jaha Dukureh, Founder of Safe Hands for Girls.
We also offered a preconference workshop looking at grantmaking into Latin America, a lunchtime discussion for funders in China, released new data on the international activity of U.S. community foundations, discussed funder strategies for global grantmaking given the Trump administration’s priorities, and discussed how foundations can help achieve the SDGs.
It was great to see so many members and partners in Dallas. If you were in Dallas, I’d love to hear your thoughts on our global offerings!
We hope you’ll consider becoming a member.
Updates on Nonprofit Regulations Overseas
In Hungary, the government has proposed a law that would label NGOs receiving foreign funds as “foreign agents.” The Council recently signed on to a letter led by our members Open Society Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund to express concern about the impacts of this draft legislation. If you’d like to learn more about the situation in Hungary, we suggest reviewing this April 2017 Briefing from Civil Society Europe.
For funders working in China, a new subsite on ChinaFile will focus on the Foreign NGO Law in China and its impacts. The Council will serve as an advisor to China NGO Project, sharing general information about how foundations are being impacted by the law.
New Global Liaisons Program
I am excited to announce that we launched the Council’s new Global Liaisons Program at our office in April. This first meeting included more than 20 participants, including the World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, and development banks. This group will build on and follow the model of the Council’s Federal Liaisons program, working to promote information exchange and lasting relationships between philanthropy and other international development actors. The group hopes to explore issues like trends in philanthropic giving, approaches to designing public-private partnerships (especially when agencies are facing funding cuts), and collaboration across sectors around frameworks like the SDGs.
Global Philanthropy Hearings on the Hill
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on May 3 to discuss global philanthropy and remittances and international development (the full video is available online). The session explored the role philanthropy plays in tackling development challenges as well as restrictions on cross-border funding. Importantly, the session highlighted how philanthropy complements (and could never replace) official development assistance and U.S. development programs, whether via USAID, the Department of State, or other federal agencies. The Council worked with Senate staffers in advance of this hearing and is continuing to engage on this issue. We hope to bring foundation leaders to a future hearing on similar issues.
Webinars for Global Funders
Several webinars relevant to global grantmakers offered by Council partners are now available online:
- IRS Audits of Nonprofits — How to Avoid or Prepare — Charity and Security Network: This webinar featured the Council’s Senior Counsel for Compliance and Policy Lara Kalwinski discussing the 2017 IRS enforcement work plan, which identifies organizations working internationally as a “strategic issue area.”
- Four Famines — Center for Disaster Philanthropy: With official famine already declared in South Sudan and potential declarations coming in Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria, over 20 million people are at risk of starvation this year due to drought and conflict. This webinar discusses how funders can respond, whether through food distribution, flexible grantmaking, or capacity building for local health workers.
- Nonprofits in Search of Financial Access: Real Problems, Potential Solutions — Charity and Security Network: Learn more about recent reports (Financial Access for U.S. Nonprofits and Tightening the Purse Strings) that explore the difficulties nonprofits around the world face when accessing banking services.
Two upcoming webinars are also likely of interest:
- An NGOSource Guide to Equivalency Determination: On Monday, May 23, NGOSource will host a live webinar exploring the role of equivalency determination (ED) in international giving, as well as ways to approach the process. Also, download the brand new guidebook, which breaks down the important elements of the ED process.
- Digital Security in an Age of Hacking and Cyberthreats: What Grantmakers Should Know: On Thursday, June 8, this webinar will discuss how funders can support grantees in responding to digital security concerns.
Convenings for Global Funders
It was great to see members and partners at several recent conferences:
- In late April, I facilitated a workshop about funding local grantees at the Peace and Security Funders Group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
- Several Council members, staff, and board members joined more than 700 attendees in Ottawa to discuss the concept of belonging in our current world as well as the role for community philanthropy at the recent Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) conference in Ottawa. I also facilitated a workshop on the SDGs with CFC.
Council staff will be at several upcoming events — we’d love to see you there!
- European Foundation Centre Annual Conference, May 31-June 2 in Warsaw, Poland
- Interaction 2017 Forum, June 20-22 in Washington, D.C.
- International Human Rights Funding Group NY Conference, July 11-13 in New York City