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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: 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."

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Five Reasons My Foundation Will Be On the Hill

Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Russell Carey

Feb12

It was a moment from an Aaron Sorkin script. “Walk with me,” Rep. French Hill said as we entered the Members Only elevator. Hill, a Republican who represents central Arkansas, including Little Rock, had been buzzed for a floor vote but wanted to learn more about Expect More, our foundation’s new economic equity initiative. As we speedwalked the halls of Congress, I talked about our vision for Arkansas. Through echoing tunnels we discussed how it connected with his workforce agenda. As we arrived at security, I offered some ways we could be a resource in the future. Cue the music.

Moments like this are more common than not at Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). FOTH is a two-day event that brings foundation leaders to Washington, D.C., for meetings with Congress about key issues for foundations and philanthropy. The time my organization, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, spends at FOTH each year is intense, exciting, and incredibly valuable. There’s a multitude of reasons you should be there. I’ve tried to narrow it down to my top five:

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Member Highlight: Sherrie Armstrong

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb07

Members who attend this year's CEO Forum are sure to get a warm welcome in Richmond -- several foundation leaders from the city are helping plan the event, including Sherrie Armstrong, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

Richmond, Sherrie said, is in a period of transition and change that many other Southern cities can related to -- populations are increasing, and food, arts and culture are proliferating, but that brings with it concerns about housing, displacement and more that foundations in the area are working to address.

"Neighborhoods and areas of our city are developing bringing more people to the urban center. There is an energy and vibrancy that is ever present," she said. "While we are experiencing this growth community leaders including those from government, philanthropy, nonprofits, and the business sectors are working more together to address our challenges with a line of sight to creating a community where everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit from the changes."

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The Community Foundation Case for Attending Foundations on the Hill

Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Sutton Mora Hayes

Feb05

Hopefully by now you have received an email (or two or three) from SECF encouraging you to attend this year’s Foundations on the Hill (March 11-13). I have a feeling that a lot of you are in the “kind of interested” camp or the “maybe I will go next year” camp. Anyone from any type of foundation would benefit from attending, but I specifically want to encourage my community foundation colleagues to consider joining us in Washington, D.C. this year. Community-driven philanthropy is facing some special challenges, and it is important that we have a strong showing on Capitol Hill.

So, why should you attend? Let me break it down into four points:

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

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

Jan30


Note: This post is the first 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. Up first: Alabama.


Alabama Philanthropy Snapshot

First SECF Member: M.W. Smith, Jr. Foundation (joined in 1973)
Newest SECF Member: Community Foundation of East Alabama
Current SECF Members: 24

Learn more about Alabama foundations from SECF’s Southern Trends Report!


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Member Highlight: Ayana Gabriel

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jan24

Ayana Gabriel, a member of the faculty at SECF's upcoming Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers, will be able to relate to many of the attendees in the room -- her career in philanthropy began less than four years ago when she joined the staff of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in March 2015.

"I'm still fairly new so I hope my experience can help others," she said. "Philanthropy is fairly insular so there aren't a lot of resources to learn the profession."

Ayana will be leading the Managing Your Grants Portfolio session. Since she joined the Blank Foundation, Ayana has managed its educational grantmaking programs as a program officer. Her work has included investments falling under the foundation's Pathways to Success initiative, focused on expanding educational opportunities.

Pathways to Success, Ayana said, "focuses on birth – 12 education strategies in the areas of STEAM, education reform, and our placed-based initiative on the Westside of Atlanta."

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Program Archives Now Online at SECF.org

Tags: SECF Events 
Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: David Miller

Jan17

SECF's events and programs are one of the top benefits of membership. However, we know that many of our members have busy calendars and can't always attend a program in person -- and for those who can, it's not always easy to keep track of everything you learned, especially months or years down the road.

That's why we've launched a new feature on SECF.org this week: program archives! Members who log in to SECF.org can find our archives under the Programs menu accessible from anywhere on the site -- just click Archived Programs to get started.

The archives currently contain materials from the past three years for the Annual Meeting, CEO Forum and Family Foundations Forum. Here you'll find presentations, handouts and more from each of these events. The archive also includes webinars going back to 2013.

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Member Highlight: Langley Shealy

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jan10

The year is only two weeks old, but Langley Shealy has already taken on two new responsibilities -- she recently accepted a new position at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and has also agreed to serve as a faculty member at next month's offering of Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers.

After more than six years as the foundation's director of communications and public information, Shealy has now stepped into the position of community outreach director. The role will see her serve more often as the public face of the foundation while also strengthening relationships with its grantees.

"The care and consideration that the foundation shows in the selection of grantees is matched by that organization's desire to include us in their milestone moments," Langley said. "It has become physically impossible for the foundation president and/or program staff to attend all of these wonderful events while continuing to perform their daily duties. I am excited to be able to focus on celebrating these incredible grantees and to serve as the ‘face' of the Foundation at these events."

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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

Jan08

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

Dec20

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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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.