Blog: Amplify

Community Foundations February Update

The nature of disruption has been on my mind recently. Our friends at the Greater New Orleans Foundation are coordinating a Helping our Neighbors: Tornado Relief Fund to alleviate the devastation of numerous tornadoes last week. They mobilized quickly to help pave the way for philanthropy to make a difference in a time of need.

And this grace under pressure is a common theme these days. Colleagues at the Council are coordinating a call to understand how the very recent executive order on immigration will impact our members. Plus, connections are still being made between U.S. community foundations and our partners in Canada following the tragic events at a Mosque in Quebec City.

I hope you’re well in these uncertain times and that this newsletter is helping you stay informed on the resources available to you at the Council and in the field at large. If you're not a Council member, you can explore how membership can help your organization achieve its goals and mission at

Community Foundation Business Model Disruptions

The Council is pleased to share a thought piece by Berks County Community Foundation President and CEO Kevin Murphy entitled Community Foundation Business Model Disruption in the 21st Century. This paper explores changes community foundations are facing to the how they operate and ways to navigate these disruptions.

To ensure an immersive and meaningful dialogue around the contents of this paper, the Council is hosting a series of conversations for community foundation leaders to share reactions and discuss a new narrative for community foundations.

  • February 14 – Special Convening at Knight’s Media Learning Seminar (Miami)
  • February 23 – Convening at IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (Indianapolis)
  • March 20 – Plenary and concurrent sessions at AdNet’s Conference (Memphis)
  • April 26 – Concurrent Session at the Council’s Annual Conference (Dallas)

Community and Economic Development for Community Foundations

Join us on April 6 in Indianapolis at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for a day of learning, networking, and exploring how to take community foundation leadership to the next level.

Speakers will include Lara Kalwinski from the Council, our independent consultant John Cochrane, Andy Fraizer from the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations, and Mark Sidel from the Lilly Family School and the Council’s National Standards board. Additional guests will include Michel Eggleston from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Toby Rittner and Katie Kramer from Council of Development Finance Agencies, and Tony Macklin from Impact Finance Center.

Tax Reform and the Johnson Amendment

While our government relations team is deeply engaged in its priorities related to potential tax reform (which could affect the charitable deduction, the IRA charitable rollover, and the private foundation excise tax), it took a pause this week to raise concerns over the call to repeal or alter the current law prohibiting 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from participating in political campaigns. Click here for our summary of the recent developments on this issue and its implications for the sector.

The Council sent a personalized letter to every Member of Congress on February 9 to explain how this could cause irreparable damage to the philanthropic sector. Several Congressional offices let us know they found the letter helpful and requested more information from us.

Vibrant Communities and Philanthropic Practices – Annual Conference 2017

I am watching with great interest the slate of offerings coming together for the Council’s Annual Conference in Dallas.

Dozens of community foundation-related sessions are being led by your peers on topics such as economic development, health, education, food and water, culture and civility, and philanthropic best practices.

While there are several preconference events to choose from, the preconference on rural philanthropy packs a punch with a host of innovative solutions to benefit our rural communities.

I hope you will join us. In the meantime, check out this interesting article: Census Report Is Unusually Informative about Rural.

Knight Community Information Lab for Community and Place-Based Foundations

This week, Knight Foundation announced a new opportunity for community and place-based foundations that will help them get to the heart of their city’s information needs.

Knight is looking for four foundations to take part in the Knight Community Information Lab, an 18-month journey that uses human-centered design to define local information gaps and create ways to fill them. Instead of funding projects, Knight is asking foundations to take a step back, test their assumptions, and co-create solutions with their communities.

Applications are being accepted now through March 24. You can find out more, register for a March 1 webinar, and apply at

Learning Opportunities for Your Foundation

  • March 7 – Put Your Voice Where Your Mission Is (Independent Sector webinar)
  • March 9 – Looking to the Future: Localizing the Global Goals in Minnesota (Minneapolis)
  • March 20-22 – AdNet 2017 Conference (Memphis)

Save the Date!

  • Endowments and Finance Summit – October 12-13

Center for Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals

  • March 6-7 – Center for Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals (Sacramento)
  • April 22-23 – Center for Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals (Dallas)
  • November 9-10 – Center for Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals (Boston)

Additional Resources for Your Foundation

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