Blog: Newsletters

Global Philanthropy Newsletter - December 2017

Season’s greetings from the Global Philanthropy team here at the Council! It finally feels like winter in D.C. and we’ve even had a taste of snow.

Across the world, 2017 has been a year of change and transition. As the year ends, I’ve been reflecting on our program’s impact in 2017, especially as we plan for next year. Here are highlights from this year and sneak peeks into projects we are excited about for 2018.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous new year!
- Natalie

P.S. The Council offices will be closed for the holidays from December 23, 2017 – January 1, 2018. If you need help during this time, please call our main number at 703-879-0600 and select the membership department.


North American Community Foundations Summit

With less than two months to go before the inaugural North American Community Foundations Summit, the schedule for the convening has been published! With a rich mix of plenaries, concurrent sessions and workshops, the Summit promises to deliver programming that will inspire and motivate concrete actions towards the implementation of strategies and initiatives that will build more resilient and sustainable local communities.

We also announced nine travel scholarships winners, which will ensure participation of a diverse group of community foundation leaders from across the U.S. at the event. A recent blog post names the winners and shares their motivations for attending the Summit.

Earlier this week, I sat down with Brad Ward, Director of Community Philanthropy, for a Summit preview. Watch our 20-minute Facebook Live video—get the inside scoop on the sessions, speakers, and things to do and see in our host city!

Please visit the Summit website at for more details and to register – there are only 15 Council Member spots remaining!

United Nations General Assembly

A major highlight this year was the 72nd Session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in September in New York City. Council staff hosted, spoke at, and attended several events focused on the role of philanthropy in achieving the SDGs and supporting development globally. Of note was the Concordia Summit where Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill moderated a plenary session focused on the role of U.S philanthropy in international development. Vikki shared the stage with Kathleen McLaughlin (President, Walmart Foundation), Dr. Rajiv Shah (President, The Rockefeller Foundation) and David Simas (President, Obama Foundation). You can watch the panel via the Concordia Live Stream of Day 2 (starting at 6:05:00).

Over the past two years, we have now convened more than 350 foundations in six cities (two of these meetings were held this year) to discuss how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are relevant to domestic challenges in the U.S. During UNGA, five regional association partners from these meetings joined us in New York to explore how to expand this work and build connection across cities.

We are excited to continue working with local partners in 2018 and beyond to strengthen the role of philanthropy in achieving the SDGs here in the US. We are currently working to organize other convenings across the country. If you are interested in hosting a SDGs convening in your city please contact me.

Global Liaisons Program

In April 2017, the Council launched our Global Liaisons Program. We held three stakeholder meetings throughout the year, welcoming partners from various federal and multilateral organizations to learn about their work and discuss reciprocal benefits of public-philanthropic-partnerships for global programs, including opportunities for greater philanthropic engagement in designing innovative development solutions.

As we continue this program in 2018, please look out for announcements about partnership opportunities for global grantmakers to work with these federal and multilateral agencies.


Global Sessions at the Annual Conference

We were thrilled to offer a host of global sessions and topics at the Council’s Leading Together Annual Conference in April, in Dallas. You can watch our global highlights on YouTube.

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.

Be on the lookout for details regarding our next Leading Together conference in Miami, April 28-May 1, 2019 in the new year.

Cross-Border Grantmaking Legislation:

China: The Chinese government passed a law on January 1, 2017 that greatly affected how international non-profits and other organizations conducted philanthropic work within the country. This law was prompted by the government’s scrutinizing of foreign entities working within their border. Under this new law, organizations are required to register with the Ministry of Public Security and identify a government-approved PSU sponsor. Further details on the NGO law in China can be found on our website.

In late November, I spoke on a plenary panel at the World Philanthropy Forum in Beijing with several Council members and partners, to discuss trends in philanthropy globally.  

India: A new report was published this year titled, Philanthropy in India, and offers a comprehensive overview of India’s philanthropic sector. The study shows how India is experiencing a shift in donors and a new wave of innovation within philanthropy. The report also discusses the growing importance of the individual philanthropist in the overall landscape of funding for the development sector. Check out this related article looking at where India stands today including who is giving and the role of philanthropy in closing the country’s inequality gap as the philanthropic sector continues to expand.

Council President and CEO, Vikki Spruill, and I will be visiting India in February 2018 for a meeting of the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) Board and Dasra’s 2018 Philanthropy Week in Mumbai.

Financial Action Task Force: The Council continues to be engaged globally around FATF. Last month, I spoke on a WINGS and EFC webinar (How can philanthropy engage around FATF?) to share our experience working on FATF in the United States. Representatives from Europe, Spain, and Mexico shared their own experiences and analysis for how philanthropy can effectively engage with national FATF evaluations. Our partners at the Charity and Solution Network also recently hosted a webinar looking at: Solutions for Nonprofits’ Banking Problems Webinar: Next Steps.

New Resources

International Giving by U.S Community Foundations

This year, the Council in collaboration with the Foundation Center, produced the first-ever analysis of international grantmaking by U.S. community foundations. The report includes interviews with five community foundations - The Boston Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Seattle Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation and shows that international grantmaking by large U.S. community foundations is becoming increasingly common.

The report contains several key takeaways including that many community foundations are beginning to adopt a broader, more nuanced definition of “community” than they have in the past; global engagement by U.S community foundations extends beyond just grantmaking and the amount of funds flowing towards programs overseas is expected to increase as the overall grantmaking by U.S. community foundations continues to grow.

Download your copy of the free report.

In 2018, we will be publishing two new reports - one will coincide with the NACF Summit and focus on the role of community philanthropy in achieving the SDGs. The other report, which will be published later in the year, will be produced in collaboration with the Foundation Center and will focus on trends in international grantmaking by U.S. foundations.

Legal Webinars

Throughout the year the Council hosted number of legal webinars which are available online to our members at no additional cost. The webinars, which covered a range of legal issues facing foundations can be accessed on our Events page, along with other Council updates and calls which were held throughout the year.

Reminder – Disaster Information

As we move into 2018 the Council will continue to provide resources for funders responding to natural and manmade disasters in the US and around the world. In 2017, we created several resource pages and co-hosted webinars as part of our disaster response, including:


Throughout the year the Council hosted number of legal webinars which are available online to our members at no additional cost. The webinars, which covered a range of legal issues facing foundations can be accessed on our Events page, along with other Council updates and calls which were held throughout the year.

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