X

Engage - The SECF Blog

BEST + NEXT PRACTICE 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.


Member Highlight: Amy Mandel

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar20

The Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund, based out of Asheville, North Carolina, has a very specific mission: supporting social justice work that advances LGBTQ rights, forwards racial justice and combats anti-Semitism on a global, national and local scale. While the organization supports dozens of organizations around the world, Asheville and its surrounding areas in Western North Carolina get special attention – more than 20 nonprofits in the area have benefited from the Fund's work.

Last month, in a series of posts on the website for one of the foundation's programs, the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship, Amy wrote an extended essay on her life and how she has leveraged her privilege to promote equity.

"In hearing others describe what led them to do what they do, I have come to see the importance of telling my story and sharing publicly why I do what I do," Amy wrote as she introduced the series. "My hope is that sharing the paradoxes and questions I sit with is a step towards the transparency and accountability which are so essential for building trust and community."

Read More


50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 1976 to 1978

Category: 50th Anniversary, 
Author: David Miller

Mar20

Registration for SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting will open May 15 – between now and then, we’re going to take a look back at the history of SECF’s signature event and how it’s evolved over the years.


Heading into the late 1970s, the Annual Meeting fell into a consistent rhythm, hitting new states and cities while also providing time for discussion of the economic climate, investment strategies, and a range of programmatic concerns – many of which remain deeply relevant today.


1976 Annual Meeting

When: October 20-22, 1976
Where: Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia
Notable Speakers: McGeorge Bundy (President, The Ford Foundation), Dr. Ray Marshall (Professor of Economics, University of Texas, and president of the National Rural Center)

If our records are correct, Dr. Ray Marshall is the oldest living Annual Meeting keynote/plenary speaker – 90 years old today, he is a professor emeritus at the University of Texas. He spoke at the meeting's closing luncheon, and was only a year away from being appointed Secretary of Labor in the Carter administration. Marshall's National Rural Center had just been founded – it was described by The Washington Post as "a nonprofit research organization with a $750,000 annual budget that he founded [to] focus national attention on rural problems."

Read More


Member Highlight: Andrea Young Kellum

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar14

"Capacity-building" is a term heard often anytime enough grantmakers are in the room. The general idea -- investing in the infrastructure of a nonprofit organization, as opposed to a specific program -- is a firmly established trend.

But what does it actually look like in practice? And how can a desire to boost nonprofit capacity be balanced with the need to invest in programs that directly support people in need?

These are difficult questions, but Southern grantmakers aren't shying away from them. At the Healthcare Georgia Foundation, senior program officer Andrea Young Kellum has devoted plenty of thought to the subject -- in fact, her reflections on the topic have received attention on the national level. A blog post she wrote last year, The Audacity of Building Capacity, was recently featured in a newsletter from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

"Our current funding strategies reflects the Foundation's values and commitment to place- based grantmaking and to supporting programs that address health equity, thereby reducing health disparities," Andrea wrote. "So one may question why, given all of the pressing health issues and disparities in Georgia, does the Foundation have the audacity to support capacity building?"

The answer, she writes, is simple: "We believe that strengthening nonprofits not only helps us to achieve our mission, but that providing organizations with the tools and resources necessary to build their capacity to better fulfill their missions' leads to stronger organizations, programs, and ultimately, better health outcomes for Georgians."

Read More


50 Meetings in 50 Days: The Annual Meeting from 1973 to 1975

Category: 50th Anniversary, 
Author: David Miller

Mar14

Registration for SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting will open May 15 – between now and then, we’re going to take a look back at the history of SECF’s signature event and how it’s evolved over the years.

The Annual Meeting had become an established event by the mid-1970s, and SECF had solidified itself as an organization – in 1972, paperwork filed with the State of Georgia had officially established the Southeastern Council of Foundations as a nonprofit corporation. The initial board included representatives from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and Florida.

With its initial growing pains out of the way, in 1973 SECF felt confident enough to begin moving the Annual Meeting throughout the region. The event’s programming also began to expand beyond the legal and regulatory concerns that had dominated its first three years.


1973 Annual Meeting

When: November 1-2, 1973
Where: Holiday Inn of Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Notable Speakers: Terry Sanford (President, Duke University), David Freeman (President, Council on Foundations)


Recognizing that one-size-fits-all programming wouldn’t be sufficient for a growing number of attendees, this year’s meeting featured concurrent sessions for foundations without staff, with full-time staff and, separately, community foundations. While these sessions were focused on the familiar topic of foundation administration, the agenda also included sessions on scholarship and loan programs, as well as “regional needs and opportunities for foundation responses.”

Luncheon speaker Terry Sanford, then president of Duke University, had previously served as governor of North Carolina and would eventually represent the state in the U.S. Senate. Not unlike previous year’s speaker Alexander Heard, Sanford was a Southerner with a progressive attitude on civil rights. Two years before speaking at the Annual Meeting, he famously said “the South can lead the nation, must lead the nation – and all the better, because the nation has never been in greater need of leadership.”


Read More


Member Highlight: Lewis Whitfield

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar07

Convening power is one of the greatest assets a foundation has -- by leveraging its reputational capital, funders can bring people from different sectors, and possessing different viewpoints, together for conversations that boost a sense of community and can even inspire collaborative action.

The CREATE Foundation in Tupelo, Mississippi, recently tapped into its convening power by holding a summit for educators and business leaders to discuss how schools in the region are addressing the needs of students and connecting them with jobs.

The foundation's senior vice president, Lewis Whitfield, spoke at the event. He said the summit aligned well with the foundation's mission.

"CREATE Foundation's Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi has been focused on lifting the personal incomes of the people of our region -- primarily by helping improve the educational attainment levels of our population," he said. "Community foundations are a great source of data on key issues. Moreover, they are uniquely positioned to provide a forum for nonthreatening discussion of these underlying data and the issues. We believe in being a convener and catalyst for these discussions, but we also realize that without cooperative community partners our effectiveness would be limited."

Read More


50 Meetings in 50 Days: The 1971 & 1972 Annual Meetings

Category: 50th Anniversary, 
Author: David Miller

Mar07

Registration for SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting will open May 15 – between now and then, we’re going to take a look back at the history of SECF’s signature event and how it’s evolved over the years.


Following a successful organizing meeting in 1970, the Annual Meeting truly earned its name by returning to Atlanta in 1971. The meeting would remain there through 1972, with day-long agendas focused primarily on the still-new legal and regulatory landscape facing foundations in the region.


1971 Annual Meeting

When: October 14-15, 1971
Where: The Atlanta American Motor Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
Notable Speakers: William Archie (Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation), Randolph Thrower (attorney and former IRS Commissioner), Dr. John Griffin (Southern Education Foundation)


This was the first Annual Meeting to span more than one day – though the first day consisted solely of a reception and "Dutch treat" dinner in downtown Atlanta.

Read More


50 Meetings in 50 Days: A Look at the 1970 Annual Meeting

Category: 50th Anniversary, 
Author: David Miller

Mar06

Registration for SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting will open May 14 – between now and then, we’re going to take a look back at the history of SECF’s signature event and how it’s evolved over the years.

1970 Annual Meeting

When: October 14, 1970
Where: The Atlanta American Motor Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
Notable Speakers: William Archie (Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation), Dr. John Griffin (Southern Education Foundation), David Freeman (Council on Foundations), Boisfeuillet Jones (Emily and Ernest Woodruff Foundation)


The first SECF Annual Meeting wasn’t billed as such – after all, an event can’t be annual until it’s been held at least two years in a row. Instead, this meeting was billed as an Organizational Meeting. This was also the only Annual Meeting to take place entirely within one day.

Read More


11 States in 11 Months: Southern Philanthropy in... Arkansas

Category: 50th Anniversary, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb27


Note: This post is the second of a series that will run throughout our 50th Anniversary year. Each month, we'll focus on philanthropy in one of the 11 states in the SECF footprint, using both current and historical data while highlighting a variety of voices. This month's state: Arkansas.


Arkansas Philanthropy Snapshot

First SECF Member: The Ross Foundation (joined 1977)
Newest SECF Member: Walton Family Foundation (joined 2017)
Number of SECF Members: 6



Learn more about Arkansas foundations from SECF's Southern Trends Report!

Read More


Member Highlight: Alicia Philipp

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb21

This week, in the offices of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Host Committee for SECF's 50th Annual Meeting convened to begin planning how this historic celebration will showcase its home -- a diverse, thriving hub for the entire region and a city where philanthropy has played a major role in revitalization and renewal.

Who could lead such an effort? One of the first names to come to mind was Alicia Philipp, the longtime president of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta -- not only is she one of the city's most prominent philanthropic leaders, but she's also one of the city's biggest civic boosters.

A recent Atlanta magazine profile of Alicia noted that "she's done more to change the Atlanta region than most elected officials ever could," adding that the foundation under her leadership "has become one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the Southeast -- donating an estimated $100 million a year to nonprofit and faith-based organizations."

Read More


Member Highlight: Marianne Smith Edge

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb14

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky recently added significant health expertise to its Board of Directors with the appointment of Marianne Smith Edge.

Marianne, from Owensboro, is a registered dietitian who founded The AgriNutrition Edge, a communications consulting firm that helps food and agriculture companies navigate the complex consumer food environment.

A sixth-generation farm owner, Marianne is no stranger to food systems and agriculture. She writes about them, and their connection to nutrition, often on the AgriNutrition Edge website.

"Will the crops we raise today actually sustain the health and well-being of our nation and the world? Are we raising food for nutrient benefits or economic gain? Is having an affordable and safe food supply enough?" she asked in one post. "These are all complex questions without simple answers! Resolution comes with understanding our food systems and consumer concerns. It will do us well to reconnect ourselves and ‘meet at the table' with our neighbors and communities."

Read More


Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW
Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Hours: M–F from 9:00am to 6:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116
Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.