We are in a moment of dramatic change and re-imagining, what my friend the futurist Ari Wallach calls “The Intertidal”: a significant shift in global human culture and narrative, where what has been gives way to what will be.
A few years ago, in my role guiding strategy and programs at the Democracy Fund, I took some time to explore the idea of "trust." It was a construct that came up over and over again in conversations about democracy – for instance, do we trust elections to be safe and secure? What news sources can we trust? Do we still trust our institutions?
For over 70 years, the Council has supported philanthropy’s efforts to advance the greater good amidst persistent global challenges. Over the past twelve months we have faced crises unlike anything we have seen before, including the recent assault on our democracy. And yet, while the struggles we face may change over time, one thing remains consistent: philanthropy is an enduring and essential source of support for those in need.
Yesterday at the United States Capitol we witnessed inexcusable acts of violence and criminal behavior as domestic terrorists attempted to disrupt the rightful certification of the results of a democratic election. This is an unprecedented moment in modern American history and one that leaves an indelible stain on our great democracy.
The Council hosted a series of virtual events inspired by some of philanthropy’s most important challenges and opportunities in our first-ever inaugural Member Week (December 3-7th 2020). These free events prioritized the need for Council members to connect and share insights and inspiration for the future. Here’s what you missed:
The Council on Foundations joins all Americans in expecting a careful accounting of all votes and an expeditious and certain outcome in the 2020 Presidential election. Whatever the result, we are heartened by the historic turnout because a healthy democracy depends on robust participation from citizens.
As 2019 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on my first year at the Council on Foundations. I’m proud of the strides we’ve made in forging strong relationships across the sector, moving our policy agenda forward, supporting the professional growth of members and reimagining both our membership model and our vision for the future of the Council.
Since joining the Council’s board last year, I’ve had the honor to support two pivotal decisions that will shape the organization’s future – selecting a new President & CEO and launching the Council’s new membership model. This is an exciting time for the Council on Foundations and I am confident we are taking an approach that will better meet the needs of members and partners for years to come.
Several years ago, the Council on Foundations Board made a decision that I have felt for some time needed to be revisited. We voted to approve a new membership model that we thought would ensure long term financial health for the Council. The outcome of that decision, however, did not play out in the manner we anticipated. In fact, the new dues structure had an adverse impact on a number of our members, particularly small and medium sized foundations as well as community foundations, many of whom were priced out of the Council community. While this was never the Board’s intention, we take responsibility for causing these valued members to feel alienated from the Council community.