Leadership

The Council on Foundations is proud to release the 2013 Grantmakers Salary Tables. This annual publication is one of the most comprehensive sets of data on U.S. foundations’ staff compensation available. The release of the Salary Tables preludes the upcoming Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, which will go into greater detail about benefits packages offered at the nation’s foundations and corporate giving programs. - See more at: http://www.cof.org/content/announcing-2013-grantmakers-salary-and-benefits-report-salary-tables#sthash.Z2Eld9Lr.dpuf

This is an incredibly exciting time at the Council on Foundations. We recently wrapped up our Fall Conference for Community Foundations Conference in San Diego, our fourth major conference since I came to the Council. We have launched several major products, such as a study on private foundation investment strategies, a field guide on impact investing, and a strategy toolkit. We also created a series of useful materials for Community Foundation Week that will allow our members to more effectively tell their stories of place-based philanthropy.

Gifts to community foundations have long been used as planning tools by individuals with philanthropic goals. Apart from qualifying for the maximum income tax deduction and the estate tax deduction, the community foundation is a vehicle that provides donors a variety of opportunities for fulfilling their philanthropic objectives. Among the most critical outcomes in community foundation success is ensuring that legal processes, including compliance with the tax code, are adhered to. And because nearly all federal and state laws pertain, directly or indirectly, to tax-exempt organizations, there are few areas of law that have no bearing whatsoever on such exempt entities, including community foundations.

It’s no accident that the Council on Foundations 2013 Family Philanthropy Conference takes place this week in Silicon Valley. This is Ground Zero for technological innovation. Ideas birthed here have changed—and continue to change—the world.

I first started working in the community foundation field more than 15 years ago. It goes without saying that I’m a big fan. I believe in this democratic model of philanthropy where the collective power of many creates powerful change. I’m also a fan because most community foundations understand that our work is constantly changing and adjusting to new needs. We cannot stand still. Indeed, the model of community foundation 15 years ago was vastly different than the one I see across the country now. The difference is the greater clarity about our leadership, and about our place-based expertise and connection. Community Foundation Week makes me reflect on that leadership.

One of my most memorable moments from college was when I sat in a sea of more than 500 college students in PoliSci 101. From the back of the auditorium, a very small man stood up on stage speaking to all of us about the strength of the U.S. president as “soft power.” According to Joseph Nye of Harvard University, the man who coined the term, it is “the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force, or give money as a means of persuasion.”

At the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, we believe strongly in the critical importance of unrestricted general operating support because it provides nonprofit leaders with the flexibility to direct spending toward strategic priorities facing their organizations. In 2011, two-thirds of the Fund’s grants were allocated for this purpose.