Community Foundation Executive Roundtable - Washington, DC

The Council on Foundations invited executive staff of community foundations for an exchange of ideas to strengthen communities across the United States. As a field, we need to come together to discuss the current mischaracterization of donor advised funds (DAFs), and how we can implement strategies for success for all community foundations.

Over the last few months, we’ve observed the growing critique of donor advised funds in media outlets, which has called into question the role, importance, and value of community foundations as philanthropic leaders and critical local institutions. The Council worked directly with several community foundations on counter-narratives about the positive impacts of DAFs in their local press and created a media DAF communications toolkit. But we wanted to expand the conversation about what is needed in this current moment for community foundations and work together to co-create solutions for the field.

The Community Foundation Executive Roundtables are full-day, invitation-only, forums that will bring together community foundations of various size, scope, and location to glean understanding from diverse viewpoints. A livestream concluded the first event which shared key concepts explored and next steps identified from this initial roundtable.

Goals & Agenda

The goal is to provide the context and space for community foundation executives to explore new ideas and solutions, designed with a new set of measures and metrics that is not asset-centric, but reflective of the competitive advantages unique to community foundations.

  • The first half of the day will be a deep dive into three broad topics: media, public policy, and data.
    Conversations will focus on a landscape analysis of the ongoing narrative about community foundations, current policies and proposed legislation that will impact your foundation, and existing data and survey instruments that will help the group consider redefining measurements of success.
  • In the afternoon, we will focus on community foundation identity, culture, aspirations, and means.
    Conversations will focus on how the field can embrace a new set of qualifying measures for community philanthropy—a complete realignment of how to assess, evaluate, and categorize beyond asset growth and more on the change community foundations are instigating, cultivating, and leading.

The Council on Foundations would like to thank The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for supporting this series of events.

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