Blog: Newsletters

Community Philanthropy Update—June 2018

As we enter summer, it’s the time of year when many in the community foundation world may be experiencing what I used to call “the scholarship slump.” When I ran a community foundation, this is a term of endearment I used for when your team has survived the first round of scholarship activities—collecting applications, reviewing applicants, and letting hundreds of folks know they did not secure an award. The slump? On the flip side, awards are announced—but then comes all the processing. The months of processing.  It is surely why I had a ‘love-hate’ relationship for scholarship funds. 

Given that it’s now the time of year when you might be facing the “scholarship slump,” I wanted to share a few resources that may be helpful:

I’m also happy to schedule a call to discuss how you can transition out, move beyond, or improve your scholarship programs for administrative and community impact.

Outside of scholarships, I often see community foundations leading collaborative efforts with nonprofit partners during the summer. Earlier this week, I was delighted to serve as the keynote speaker for Central Susquehanna Community Foundation’s Impact Symposium, and en-route witnessed a convening hosted by Philadelphia Foundation and visited Chester County Community Foundation’s nonprofit expo, an event underwritten by a component fund of the community foundation.

From scholarships to nonprofit convenings, the vast landscape of work among community foundations reminds me of what I just read from Shelly Quinn, CEO of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation,

“Our shared philosophy to improve lives interconnects us on so many levels, one of which is to celebrate each other’s achievements and milestones.”

From all of us at the Council, I’m here to say we celebrate each of you and all your achievements and milestones.  You work tirelessly to make a difference in the world—at least your corner of the world, anyway.  Thank you for being local pillars of philanthropic achievement, inspiring philanthropy, and building a shared sense of ownership of your community.


Brad Ward

Director, Community Philanthropy | 703-879-0640

PS – I hope you saw our recent webinar, Developing an Investment Strategy, with our friends FEG based in Cincinnati, OH. We had more than 110 community foundations join us last week to discuss critical issues like hurdle rates, allocation needs, monitoring outside money managers, and committee structures. The webinar recording is free for all on our website.

DAFs in the News. Change the Narrative.

It is important for our collective field to voice the good around our donor advised funds.

The Council has created a page that includes DAF success stories, including a Donor Advised Funds Communications Toolkit that you will see linked just below the stories. It contains the current fact sheet template and will be regularly updated with additional resources.  I believe it is also a great time for the field to tout the diversity of funds and impact your foundation has beyond this one vehicle and fund type.

Please keep me or my colleague, Janelle Brevard, Vice President of Communications, posted on any questions you're getting from your local press, and if there are any resources that come to mind that we could provide.

Find more DAF resources here.

Where to Find Me.

This month I’m in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, DC, and Wisconsin.  After delivering a keynote address at a nonprofit symposium hosted by a Council member in PA, I’ll be back in the DC area for a few days and then off to Legal Matters for Community Foundations Workshop in Milwaukee, WI.

If you’re joining us in Milwaukee, don’t forget to RSVP for the networking reception hosted the night before (June 27) at the Harley Davidson Museum compliments of Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Learn more!

For Whom Do We Improve Quality of Life?

Community Foundation efforts to improve overall quality of life is a shared value that is essential in our missions as leaders of social change.

Mary Thomas, COO of The Spartanburg County Foundation, captures the audience’s attention alongside panelists (from left) Christopher Gergen, Forward Cities, Teri Lovelace, LOCUS Impact Investing (not pictured), Bernie Mazyck, SCACED, and Cedric Brown, The Kapor Center for Social Impact

(Pictured: Mary Thomas, COO of The Spartanburg County Foundation, captures the audience’s attention alongside panelists (from left) Christopher Gergen, Forward Cities, Teri Lovelace, LOCUS Impact Investing (not pictured), Bernie Mazyck, SCACED, and Cedric Brown, The Kapor Center for Social Impact)

Yet, the notion of who really benefits, and whether it is truly inclusive was called into question at the Council’s recent Inclusive Economic Prosperity convening in Spartanburg, SC. For this event, we brought together 130 philanthropic and non-profit leaders from across the South. Panels explored ideas of inclusive competitiveness, and community foundation attendees shared their experiences, challenges, and opportunities to play a leading role locally, given their tremendous insight, knowledge and relationships.

Our next Inclusive Economic Prosperity convening is slated for Aug 28-29 in Saint Paul-Minneapolis.  We will continue to explore how Community Foundations can leverage their role as community leaders, make grants for economic development, convene public-private partnerships, and capitalize local opportunities through impact investing.  To learn more, check out the resources and schedule of events for Minneapolis.

Learn more!

Lunch with Legal Counsel: Private Foundations and DAFs
June 20, 2018 | Webinar

The administrative costs of operating a private foundation often prove burdensome and can easily swamp the grantmaking activity of private foundations, especially smaller ones. As such, a foundation may decide to transfer its assets to a Sponsoring Organization to take advantage of the administrative efficiencies of using a donor advised fund, all the while supporting its exempt purpose. Our “Lunch with Legal Counsel” series with Bryan Del Rosario, Staff Counsel of Legal Affairs will discuss the “tipping” issue in IRS Notice 2017-73 as well as ways private foundations can use donor advised funds to advance, enhance and effectuate their charitable missions.


Professional Development for Community Foundations

From our Legal team’s expertise to the fundamentals, we have your training needs covered.

Learn more!

Endowments and Finance Summit
Washington, DC | September 6-7, 2018

Early bird pricing ends midnight June 30, 2018

The #EFSummit is where the top minds in philanthropy, finance, and academia converge to discuss and debate investment trends and strategies—and create competitive advantage in the marketplace. Focus areas include impact investing, endowment performance, public policy changes and impact, new technology, capital deployment, manager diversity, and more.


Accreditation is important and valuable.

Avoid the exposure that could transpire when you don’t meet or exceed the most rigorous benchmarks in philanthropy with the Council’s National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation.  

Standards are designed and upheld by your peers within the community foundation field and can elevate the promise from a community foundation to its partners, our philanthropic sector, and embraces the scrutiny of elected leaders and regulators.

Join me to lift up the highest standards for transparency and confidence in our operational excellence with National Standards, as with it you can innovate and take risks necessary to solve complex problems.  All cannot be avoided, but it is the step in the right direction.


Council Membership

Explore how membership can help your organization achieve its goals and mission at


Add new comment