Blog: Newsletters

Private Philanthropy Update - July 2018

Last week, I visited New York to meet with Katy Knight, Deputy Executive Director at the Siegal Family Endowment (SFE).

The SFE is a foundation focused on understanding and shaping learning in our technology-driven world. They think about their work in three buckets: Computational thinking, preparing students for the future workforce, and creating open environments that support learning for all. To learn more, click here

Through their future workforce portfolio, they work to combine academia and practical knowledge. For example, they made a grant to MIT to analyze labor market data to see which types of regions and jobs are likeliest to be disrupted by technology. The SFE believes everyone should have access to education that will help them develop future-relevant skills that will empower them to fully participate in the economy. 

The Council has also been thinking deeply about technology. Like SFE, we believe technology has the potential to provide solutions to some of our world’s most pressing issues. Technology is already transforming our educational, healthcare, judicial systems, among others, as well as the future of our workforce and communities. What does this mean for philanthropy? 

The Council began to uncover the answer to this question at our 2017 Endowments and Finance Summit and our 2018 Public Policy Summit. We facilitated conversations on blockchain and cryptocurrency and how technology is altering how currency is exchanged. We are continuing the conversation at our Endowments and Finance Summit, September 6-7, 2018, in Washington D.C. 

Next year, at our Leading Together Conference, April 29 – May 1, 2019, in Miami, Florida, we will drive discussions and explore strategies for how these ever-evolving technology transformations will shape the future of our philanthropy. Stayed tuned for more information! 

Thanks again to Katy for taking the time to share their work with me! 


Talia Rivera
Director, Private Philanthropy


Distinguished Service Award, the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, the Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications and the newest addition, the Chapman Prize. These awards are open to non-Council members, but only members of the Council on Foundations can submit nominations. The 2018 nomination cycle will run through July 25, and winners will be announced at a November 28, 2018 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Please take a moment to nominate a colleague, visionary leader, innovative grantmaker, or an organization who makes significant contributions to society and deserves to be celebrated!

Managing Implicit Bias – A New Resource
The Council has a free guide on managing implicit bias, co-released with Duke University and TIAA Institute, that gives insight on how the phenomena can affect an organization. The guide is the result of a November 2017 convening of leaders from the higher education, philanthropy and private sectors. The event’s objective was to examine how implicit bias impacts organizational effectiveness and efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Philanthropy’s Role in Strengthening Democracy | July 11, 2018 | Webinar
Join foundations and philanthropy serving organizations from across the country for a webinar on July 11th at 2pm EST. “Philanthropy's Role in Strengthening Democracy” is co-sponsored by Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, and Nonprofit VOTE.


Our Nation’s Giving Trends: What does the Giving USA Report Mean for Foundation? | July 19, 2018 | Webinar
Charitable giving surged to $410 billion in 2017, the highest ever, according to Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017. Foundation grants for the year grew to $67 billion. But can the growth sustain itself and how will future giving be impacted by the new tax law? Participants will hear experts' analysis of what the numbers mean for foundations and learn the latest predictions for future charitable giving.


Inclusive Economic Prosperity in the Midwest | August 28-29, 2018 | Minneapolis, MN
We invite you to a dynamic two-day convening, where we will consider the factors that make up a healthy local and regional economy that strives to be inclusive and promotes innovation. The convening is brought to you by the Council on Foundations and our partners, including six regional partners: the Minnesota Council on Foundations, the Council of Michigan FoundationsForefront, the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, the Iowa Council of Foundations, and the Kansas Association of Community Foundations. Our task will be to delve into the role foundations can play in this unique approach to creating a regional economic innovation ecosystem. Immerse yourself in the economic drivers of the Midwest and what constitutes an innovation ecosystem.  Exchange ideas with subject matter experts and peers on topics such as community leadership, capitalization and impact investing, resource alignment, and competitive talent development.


Endowments and Finance Summit | September 6-7, 2018 | Washington DC
The Council’s #EFSummit is where 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, new technology, capital deployment, manager diversity, and more


Recent Private Philanthropy News

Ruth LaToison Ifill, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Council on Foundations, via Philanthropy New Digest
PND spoke with LaToison Ifill about the ways in which the Council is working with member foundations to promote DEI across the sector and support systems change; the importance of data and intersectionality to that work; and the impact funders can have on the racial leadership gap at nonprofits.

New Terrain: In Search of Social Justice Impact Investingvia Inside Philanthropy
Impact investing is still a fledgling practice in mainstream philanthropy, but its popularity is growing in a big way. While there are lots of enthusiastic proponents out there—extolling the idea of putting more wealth to work or making an impact and making money—others (including on this very site) are questioning how deeply foundations should be diving into this approach.

Majority Opposes Overruling Roe v. Wadevia Outside the Beltway
Most Americans support Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion rights, a new survey shows. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,492 Americans found that 67 percent support the ruling that legalized abortion rights for the whole country, while 29 percent would like the Supreme Court to overturn it.

Jeff Bezos to Announce his Philanthropy Plans this Summervia CNET
In June of 2017, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos tweeted a request for philanthropy ideas from the public, saying he wanted to find ways to give that provided an immediate impact. That tweet got about 49,000 responses. Now Bezos is promising to announce his plans by the end of summer. 

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