Evolution of American Philanthropy

Foundations face many challenges today including the persistent possibility of federal tax reform; helping our communities address continuing fiscal constraints; advancing innovative ways of investing in social change; navigating state and federal regulatory structures. It has become clear that despite our critical presence in communities across the country, our lawmakers have largely lost sight of the invaluable role Foundations as catalysts of innovation, research and civil society have played in American life.

The Council’s Evolution of American Philanthropy Initiative focuses attention on the fundamental role and impact of philanthropy in American society. We explore key issues in a number of ways, including a series of regional panel discussions. Through these conversations, the Council is connecting foundation leaders and thought leaders from different fields and perspectives to explore the relevance of philanthropy historically and deliberate the emerging trends and opportunities that will shape philanthropy today and tomorrow.

The Council is committed to actively framing, in addition to responding to, the policy debate at all levels of government. We know that only when our policymakers and other influential leaders understand the crucial role of philanthropy —past, present, and future—will they advance educated and informed policies that allow philanthropy to thrive.


Philanthropy and the Meaning of Community - June 16, 2015

In this discussion generously hosted by The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, panelists explored why community as a concept – and in all it’s different definitions – matters to the field across all types of foundations, as well as to the public and policymakers. 

Panelists from three different types of foundations – community, corporate, and private independent – engaged in a moderated conversation about what "community" means not only to their organizations, but to the field and their grantees. They were joined by the Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, who shared her perspective on how local government and philanthropy can unite to serve communities in common.

Welcoming Remarks
Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, Council on Foundations

Opening Remarks
Kate Wolford, President, The McKnight Foundation

Betsy Hodges, Mayor, City of Minneapolis
Luz Maria Frias, Vice President, Community Impact, Minneapolis Foundation
Kevin Walker, President and CEO, Northwest Area Foundation
Kristine Fortman, Program Director, Global Outreach, Medtronic

Javier Soto, President and CEO, The Miami Foundation

Closing Remarks
Sherry Magill, President, Jessie Ball duPont Fund