Courage to Lead (from our hearts) in Philanthropy
Author: Gayle Williams
Twenty-five years of work in foundations has confirmed for me what is now emerging as a truth in the leadership field: Trustworthy relationships and emotional intelligence are at the heart of all successful leadership. Foundations are heady places where academic knowledge, analytical thinking, measurable impact, and management competence are highly valued. These are all important, but insufficient for life-giving and effective work in family foundations where complicated family dynamics are at play as staffs and boards work on complex community issues. At its heart, philanthropy is about relationships.
During my 20 years as a family foundation executive director, the Center for Courage and Renewal was a source for nurturing my skill and resilience as a leader in at least three key areas: Show Up; Be Trustworthy; Stay curious.
Six Years Later, Hull Fellows Experience Continues to Make an Impact
I won't say that I was cocky or that I believed I knew all I needed to, but there was a large part of me that understood philanthropy as a simple and straightforward mechanism of American society. If the me of ten years ago was questioned, I would, more than likely, admit that the world of organized philanthropy was as about as complex as grass farming. Plow ground, sew seeds, water in, wait eight weeks, and bam...grass.
My year in the Hull Fellowship program changed this view completely. Not only did I discover that large social issues are a bit more complicated than basic agriculture, but also I found that many of the solutions I touted had been tried repeatedly, with little to no success. I learned that my family's foundation was as unique as it was common, that many of the issues we faced had been addressed by other family foundations in the past, and that many of our quirks were our very own. There were literally hundreds of insights on operations and governance. I imagine the virtual lightbulb above my head burning with a blinding light by the end of my fellowship year.
Yet, these were not the most important things. My Hull Fellows class remains one of my favorite groups of people I have ever encountered. The diversity of background, of opinion, of thought, and of context drove incredibly rich discussions that forever altered how I understood parts of my world. There were fierce conversations, incredible moments of honesty, lasting insights, and friendships forged through it all. To this day, should a question or need arise, I have 19 people whom I trust intensely to answer my call. I was affirmed in my belief that it takes great people to make great ideas work. These were truly great people.
Resolution & Transformation
Author: Robins Foundation
Editor's Note: We wanted to share this item from one of our members, the Robins Foundation, a family foundation in Virginia. You can view the original item on the foundation's website.
Hate has no place in our work.
Many of us have been saddened, confused and angered by recent events highlighting the fractures in our society and community fabric. The fissures created by hate highlight the need for more dialogue and more engagement, not less. We value love, patience, inclusion and teamwork. We value diverse voices and diverse perspectives.
Athlete and sports team protests, Tiki torches, monuments and/or gun violence have ignited more open conversations about racism, bigotry, root causes and possible steps. These conversations yield opinions of many perspectives and we, as a community stakeholder, appreciate those perspectives. We recognize the impact of history on the movements of today. Our region (Richmond, Virginia specifically and the South, generally) was the seat of the confederacy and that, segregation in schools, red lining and other past public policies have consequences that have echoed and magnified for generations. Coincidence that we continue to see downward mobility in marginalized communities here? Coincidence we read that particular evidence in grant proposals on the plight of children and families struggling against 39% child poverty in the City of Richmond? Every day, people living in poverty make heartbreaking decisions between affording rent or childcare, food or shelter, safety or healthcare.
Can we do better?
Inside Our New Framework for Grantmaking and Learning
Author: Maurice "Mo" Green
For the past two years, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been on an exciting, exploratory journey, as we have taken a step back to examine our own work and determine how we can best serve the people of North Carolina moving forward.
One thing we’ve learned is that this process of discovery and reflection will be ongoing and in many ways our learning, and the journey, is just beginning. It is in this spirit of ongoing learning that we recently announced the launch of All For NC: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation's Framework for Grantmaking and Learning.
Our new framework reflects the foundation’s longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians and infuses what we heard during our statewide listening and learning tour about what is critical, and visionary, at this moment in time.
All For NC: ZSR’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning builds from the strategies of our “emerging direction” and aligns with our mission and core values to:
Member Highlight: Jerry Gonzalez
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
At this year's Annual Meeting, the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy will, for the third year in a row, put SECF members on the main stage for a rich conversation about leadership within the field and the region.
This year, however, comes with one change: All the champions on stage are trustees. One of them, Jerry Gonzalez, a trustee at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, says attendees will benefit from the perspective he and other champions will bring to the plenary session.
"Trustees provide great perspective and leadership for many foundations and have a great responsibility for carrying forward the mission and vision of the foundations to which they serve," he said. "Being asked to share my thoughts is really an honor and a humbling experience."
The wide-ranging session will once again be moderated by Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. Gonzalez said he hopes he and the other trustees will have the chance to talk about an issue important to his own work: equity and its connection to policy.
Member Highlight: Claire Webber
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
A decade ago, Claire Webber was just starting to become involved in her family's foundation, while also reintroducing herself to the South.
"I attended my first SECF Annual Meeting, green and returning to my hometown of Atlanta, after living on the West Coast for some time," she said. "I was eager to dive into the philanthropic community and the Annual Meeting was the perfect place to re-connect."
That event was a transformational experience.
"I am so grateful to be part of such a wonderfully engaged group of thought leaders, who kindly let me sit at the adults' table," Claire said. "Between the sessions and social offerings, I was able to re-engage and haven't looked back."
An Incredible Year Sets Up SECF for An Even Better 2019
Author: Gilbert Miller
When my plane took off from Louisville's airport, I could see the Ohio River and the bridges that spanned it, reaching out into Indiana. The cloud cover was low, and the image quickly dissolved into white, leaving me to reflect on the meeting I was leaving behind.
It's hard to sum up an SECF Annual Meeting. It's one part family reunion, one part conference, one part tent revival, one part continuing education, and one part party. In 72 hours, we cover a lot of ground, and I remain amazed each year by all that happens for the betterment of our membership.
This year, however, felt different. From all corners, I heard talk of a "feeling," of a sense of something intangible that wove itself to the entirety of the event. Attendees felt more "together" than they had in the past, and the conversations outside in the halls were of partnerships and collaborations. Embracing the theme, it is hard to not feel like bridges were being built, or at least, that bridges in disuse were being crossed once again.
Looking back on the year, it is hard not to see those same bridges being built across our entire membership. As chair, the view I am afforded is awe-inspiring, giving me great hope for the times ahead.
Member Highlight: Mark C. Callaway
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
If you've attended an Annual Meeting session on impact investing in the last few years, you've probably heard from Mark Callaway - there might be no bigger evangelist for the practice in all of SECF's membership.
Mark, who was elected to the SECF Board of Trustees at this year's Annual Meeting, developed an interest in environmental and social issues while living in Northern California in the 1960s and 70s - that led him to later embrace the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) movement in the early 2000s.
Mark said impact investing will continue to be a focus in his work as a Board member.
"I feel very strongly about the Impact space and wanted to make sure that I could continue to focus in that area," Mark said. "I think the opportunity to showcase Impact Investing at the 50th Annual Meeting will be an ideal opportunity for us to focus on the work that is being done in the Southeast in this space that doesn't usually get the opportunity to be highlighted."