Engage - The SECF Blog


SECF's Blog

Engage, SECF’s blog, is a space for SECF members, staff and partners to share their thoughts on the latest trends and best practices in philanthropy. Engage is also used for important announcements about upcoming SECF events and programs.

Do you have a story or insight you’d like to share with our members on Engage? Contact David Miller, director of marketing and communications, at david@secf.org or at (404) 524-0911 to discuss your idea.

SECF Staff Highlight: Gratia Sullivan

Tags: SECF Staff 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


The arrival of summer means a new addition to the SECF team – intern Gratia Sullivan, who comes from the Emory University Center for Ethics Servant Leadership Summer program.

Gratia, a rising senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in sociology, says supporting SECF will give her another perspective on the nonprofit sector, where she already has extensive internship and volunteer experience.

“I was excited when I saw that SECF was accepting an intern through the program and knew that working with SECF would be an incredible opportunity to increase my understanding of effective philanthropy in hopes of entering the nonprofit sector well prepared to inspire change in the issues I care about,” she said.

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Tiffany Friesen Joins SECF as Vice President of Programs & Partnerships

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


Earlier this month, Tiffany Friesen joined the SECF staff as Vice President of Programs & Partnerships. In her new role, Tiffany will lead SECF's resource development efforts and also develop a slate of programs that succeeds in helping members build connections, keep up with emerging trends and provide leadership on the issues that drive their work.

“Tiffany has proven herself to be a strong leader, developing programs focused on best practices, collective impact, youth development and other topics that are key priorities for SECF members,” said SECF President & CEO Janine Lee. “This rich mix of experience makes Tiffany a great fit for our work going forward.”

Tiffany says she was drawn to SECF by its work to find common ground in a diverse region.

“I like the work the organization is doing to bring voices together around a shared vision for people and communities,” she said. “Since then, I’ve gotten to know the SECF team and already know I am going to enjoy working with them!”

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SECF's Jaci Bertrand Promoted to Vice President of Member Engagement

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


At the start of 2019, SECF's Jaci Bertrand was promoted to Vice President of Member Engagement in recognition of her work over the last five years that has been marked by strong member recruitment, retention and relationship-building.

"Thanks to Jaci's hard work, positive attitude and strong commitment to our members, SECF has thrived in an increasingly competitive climate while building a robust network that lies at the core of our value," said Janine Lee, SECF's president and CEO. "Since she joined SECF, Jaci has become a familiar face across the region, making regular visits to SECF members, ensuring we stay in touch with their needs and also maintaining SECF's reputation as an organization that forges deep, personal bonds with its membership."

Jaci has been with SECF since 2013, when she was hired as director of member engagement. During her tenure, member retention rates have been among the best in the field. SECF's list of members has grown to include a range of foundations, including national funders seeking to build their presence in the Southeast, as well as organizations that are new to organized philanthropy and benefit from the wealth of knowledge and expertise available to SECF members.

Jaci also provides staff leadership for the Hull Fellows program, the region's premiere professional development program for emerging leaders in philanthropy, as well as the Grantmakers of Kentucky, a regional affinity group supported by SECF.

"The highlight of my time at SECF has been meeting with and getting to know a group of people committed to improving lives and communities throughout the Southeast," Bertrand said. "Our members are truly our greatest asset and it's an honor to help them connect and collaborate in ways that will make an impact for years to come."

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Winter 2018 Issue of Inspiration Now Available to SECF Members

Tags: Inspiration 
Author: David Miller


The final 2018 issue of Inspiration, SECF's quarterly magazine, is now online, with print copies on the way to foundations across the region.

This issue includes:

  • The final installment of our series, Fulfilling the Passing Gear Promise, looking at how foundations across the region are using the Passing Gear approach to address systemic issues in their communities. In this issue, we look at how the Danville Regional Foundation has used its Regional Report Card to spark change - in particular, the foundation has worked to put the Report Card's findings in the hands of community groups and leaders best poised to act on its findings.
  • The first installment of a new series, Then, Now & What's Next, marking SECF's 50th Anniversary! We open with a look at public policy - tax legislation in 1969 was the motivating force behind SECF's founding and has played a crucial role in our work ever since. This article not only looks at how SECF's public policy work has evolved into the robust program that exists today, but also previews a few things set to happen in the year ahead.
  • A look at the Family First Prevention Services Act from an expert who knows it best: Casey Family Programs President & CEO Dr. William C. Bell. Bell reviews how the legislation, which became law earlier this year, opens up new avenues for foundations to support children in their communities. He focuses strongly on cross-sector collaboration and looks at seven key areas foundations should consider as they work to capitalize on the new law.

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SECF’s Dwayne Marshall Accepts New Position with Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


Dwayne Marshall, SECF's senior director of programs and partnerships, has accepted a new position as vice president of community investment at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. He is expected to transition to his new role by the end of the year.

Marshall, who for more than six years has successfully led the development, execution and evaluation of SECF's grantmaker education programming while strengthening relationships with other regional and national philanthropy serving organizations and beyond, has made significant contributions to SECF's growth and development during his tenure.

"Today is a bittersweet day for SECF," said President & CEO Janine Lee. "Dwayne has proven himself to be a true leader in our field. His tireless work ethic and deep belief in the power of philanthropy are reflected in the strong slate of programs and opportunities for connection SECF offers its members today. During Dwayne's time at SECF, we have become the first point of contact for many national organizations looking for greater engagement in the Southeast - a development undoubtedly due to Dwayne's work in positioning SECF as a national leader in the philanthropic sector."

Marshall's staff leadership on resource development, in particular, stands out, Lee said.

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Welcome to the new SECF.org!

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Janine Lee


If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably already noticed an entirely new look to our website – but the changes you’re seeing run much deeper than a new design!

The new SECF.org is more modern, more user-friendly and designed to help you gain even more out of your SECF membership. Our staff has put plenty of thought and work into creating an online experience that provides easy access to opportunities for connection, learning, engagement and inspiration!

Our website provides you access to the resources and services you need, no matter what device you’re using, from a smartphone to a desktop. We’ve also reorganized and streamlined the content from our previous site, making it much easier to find what you’re looking for.

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Hear SECF's Janine Lee on Independent Sector's Civil Renewal Podcast

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This week, SECF President & CEO Janine Lee joined her counterpart at Independent Sector, Dan Cardinali, for a discussion about civil society and values, with a particular focus on the American South. The discussion is featured in the latest episode of Independent Sector's Civil Renewal podcast. The episode, Finding Hope in the American South, is now available on the web and through Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

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Who Will Take the Stage at SECF's 49th Annual Meeting?

Category: Announcements, 
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.

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Your Opinion Matters

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Roxanne Joffe


Editor’s Note: MagnifyGood is a communications consultancy that magnifies the good of the social sector using strategic communications.

If you are attending SECF’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, you will have an opportunity to participate in an important step the organization is taking.  SECF has partnered with us to conduct research focusing on the benefits of SECF membership, both to you and to your foundation. Your input is vital to the success of the project and demonstrates your commitment to SECF.

The research process involves your input on statements that reflect perceived benefits of SECF. We hope you will take the time to review several statements about SECF membership and tell us how you feel about each one. Your participation is a way to support SECF while at the meeting and long term.

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Statement on This Weekend's Events in Charlottesville

Category: Announcements, 


"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." — Nelson Mandela

We are deeply troubled and saddened by this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia. We mourn the loss of life – Heather Heyer, 32, the woman protesting against hatred and bigotry who was killed by a man driving a car into the crowd, and two Virginia State Police officers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, who died in a tragic helicopter accident while on duty assisting in Charlottesville. At least 35 other people have been injured. We offer our deepest condolences, as well as our thoughts and prayers, to the families and loved ones of all of the victims.

We strongly condemn the hateful ideology that led to this weekend’s events. White supremacy, extremism of any kind, and domestic terrorism have no place in our society. We will continue to oppose it and will not give it cover, oxygen nor respectability. The Southeastern Council of Foundations supports efforts that unite people of all backgrounds, races, gender, and identity through dialogue, love of humankind, cooperation and understanding around shared values. SECF stands ready to support our members in the Commonwealth who, in the weeks and months ahead, may be called upon to help the community heal.

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Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.