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.
Philanthropy 'Not Out of the Woods' on Tax Reform
Today SECF members in metro Atlanta had the opportunity to hear from one of the country’s leading experts on the tax reform debate in Washington and how it could affect endowments and grantmaking.
Sandra Swirski, with Urban Swirski & Associates, told attendees that there was still a clear path forward for tax reform legislation that could cause problems for endowed philanthropy. “We are so not out of the woods,” Swirski said.
Grantee Inclusion: An Adaptive Challenge
Last month, I was fortunate to attend the Grantee Inclusion Workshop in Savannah, GA, made possible by a partnership between SECF and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). The Mary Black Foundation, like many foundations in the Southeast, has been following the work of GEO and has been particularly interested in best practice research around how to meaningfully engage grantees.
The Grantee Inclusion Workshop was perfectly designed to facilitate thinking about why grantee inclusion is important, what organizational changes might be needed to better engage grantees, and how foundation staff can lead those changes.
According to GEO, 53 percent of staffed foundations solicit feedback from their grantees and use that information to shape their policies, programs and strategies. Yet, surveys of foundation staff and nonprofit leaders demonstrate a disconnect between grantmakers’ view of themselves and how nonprofits perceive grantmakers regarding openness to discussing a variety of topics.
A One-Stop Shop for Community Foundation Pros
Working in the community foundation field is one of the best jobs anyone could have. To spend your days in service to your community is a privilege.
But community foundations are complicated animals. All those funds! All those laws! The learning curve is steep for those new the field. Even community foundation veterans who are experts in their job may not really understand all the aspects of a community foundation.
At the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance we are fortunate to have the resources to develop a two-day curriculum we call “Boot Camp.” We love sharing this with the community foundations around the country. We get to meet fantastic, dedicated professionals and volunteers. We are excited about our upcoming trip to Orlando to present Boot Camp on June 20-21.
CEO Forum Provides Chance to Discuss Challenges of Leadership – and Solutions
The benefits of association are – according to much of the literature on foundation philanthropy – among the most powerful tools for learning and professional development in the field. Interaction with colleagues offers valuable opportunities for building networks that are useful over the long term. SECF’s recent CEO Forum, held last week in Charleston, South Carolina, was no exception.
More than 40 foundation chief executives gathered over two days to study, reflect and share their experiences and thoughts on the future of philanthropy in the United States. Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, discussed the findings of one of the Center’s recent research projects, The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective. The survey data, collected from foundation leaders across the country, provided the perfect backdrop for helping us think about our own effectiveness.
One Foundation, Three Perspectives on SECF's Essential Skills & Strategies
Author: Anna Sims, Josina Greene & Kelli Parker
Editor’s Note: On January 31 – February 1 this year, three staff members from the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley (CFCV) attended SECF’s Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers in Atlanta. Each of them took the time to offer some thoughts on their experience.
A Few Lessons Learned
Anna Sims, Grants and Communication Associate
Oftentimes in life, the best way to learn is to just do it – to simply jump in and get to it! That’s a large part of how I’ve learned what I’ve learned as the grants and communication associate at the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley after nearly two years. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we may have missed some key pieces to the puzzle.
We can only do so much with our limited time day to day, which is why it’s such a valuable opportunity to attend a workshop like Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers, hosted by SECF. This seminar reinforced much of what I’ve learned on the job. But it also introduced some key themes that I’ve never had the opportunity to learn and explore.
One of those key concepts, part of the Making Sound Funding Recommendations section, involved learning what healthy financials should look like when examining a grantee and making a sound funding recommendation. We studied key financial documents, such as 990s, balance sheets and income statements.
Who Will Take the Stage at SECF's 49th Annual Meeting?
Author: David Miller
This November, SECF members will converge on Louisville, Kentucky, for an Annual Meeting focused on philanthropy’s role in bringing people together to address the challenges facing our communities. At the 49th Annual Meeting: Come Together. Bridge the Divide. we will explore how foundations operate in a polarized environment and also look inward, examining what grantmakers can do – and can do better – in order to best help the South and its people.
This year’s theme is clearly reflected in our lineup of keynote and plenary speakers, each of whom will be able to speak to this moment in our country’s history, while also offering insights on the importance of community and the need to invest in our future.
Meet This Year's Champions of Southern Philanthropy
Author: David Miller
For the third year in a row, SECF’s Annual Meeting will include a morning plenary showcasing a few of the leaders who represent Southern Philanthropy’s power to transform lives and communities and are among our sector’s strongest supporters.
That’s right – the Breakfast with Champions of Southern Philanthropy is back! This year, we’ve introduced a new twist: All five of this year’s panelists are trustees. As stewards of the mission and purpose of their foundations, these men and women provide a long-term perspective that is essential to making a lasting impact across the region.
One thing we’re glad hasn’t changed: Mark Constantine, president and CEO of the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, has once again agreed to moderate this discussion, guaranteeing insightful questions, meaningful dialogue, moving moments – and more than a few laughs.
Joining Mark on stage will be five trustees selected for their strong leadership – at their foundations, in their communities, and within the philanthropic sector.