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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.


50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Jim Hasson

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

Jun20

This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100! Look for an expanded version of this profile in the next issue of SECF’s Inspiration, coming out in early July!

SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting is expected to draw more than a few guests who played a key role in the organization’s earliest days. One of them – attorney Jim Hasson – will even lead a session on the meeting’s third day.

Jim’s signature graces SECF’s Articles of Incorporation and between 1974 and 2011, he spoke at literally dozens of Annual Meeting legal update sessions. After a few years away, he’s returning this year to lead a new legal session, Compliance 101, that will provide practical guidance on best practices for some of the most common issues facing trustees and foundation staff, and the latest legal developments impacting foundations.

While SECF was founded in 1969, it didn’t become a legally distinct organization until 1972 – a process that Hasson was charged with completing.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Bryan Stevenson

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

Jun13

Few people are better equipped to talk both about the South’s past and its potential than Bryan Stevenson, who will close out SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting.

Stevenson’s work as founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which is devoted to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, first brought him to national attention. Originally focused on providing legal representation to death row inmates in Alabama, where it is based, the organization is now a national leader on issues of racial justice.

Following a 2012 TED Talk that has accrued over 5.8 million views and the 2014 publication of his best-selling and award-winning memoir, Just Mercy, Stevenson rose to further prominence. His most visible achievement, however, came last year when The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the related Legacy Museum opened in Montgomery.

The memorial, dedicated to victims of white supremacy, draws thousands of visitors every day to view the stark, minimalist columns etched with the names of lynching victims from hundreds of counties – most in the South. The Legacy Museum, a short walk away, uses powerful images, audio and artifacts to draw a direct line from the enslavement of Africans that started in the 1600s all the way to today’s mass incarceration of African-American men.

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Public Policy Briefs – June 2019

Tags: UBIT SALT 
Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Matthew L. Evans

Jun13

Periodically, SECF will provide members with updates on state and federal legislation that affects philanthropy. If you have questions related to public policy, or know of legislation at the federal or state level you would like SECF to know about, please contact Matthew L. Evans, director of public policy and special projects, at matthew@secf.org or (404) 524-0911.


House Committee to Hold Hearing on UBIT Next Week

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA) has scheduled a hearing for next week on changes to the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) that could affect foundations and the nonprofits they support.

The hearing, taking place Wednesday, June 19, will focus on the 21 percent tax on transportation-related fringe benefits that was applied to tax-exempt organizations as part the 2017 tax bill. This tax has received significant scrutiny and criticism from the charitable sector, leading many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to call for its elimination, with several members in both chambers introducing repeal legislation.

SECF has called for the repeal of these provisions, and Lewis’s office has reached out asking for specific examples and/or member concerns about the effect of UBIT changes on organizations within the 11-state footprint. If you would like to share an example about how UBIT is affecting your foundation or grantees, please contact Matthew L. Evans, director of public policy and special projects.

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Get on the Map and Share the Story of Your Foundation's Grantmaking

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Stephen Sherman

Jun13



Last week, nonprofit news site ProPublica announced that the public can now search the full text of nearly 3 million IRS filings from U.S. nonprofits and foundations. This free database of searchable filings includes Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF that were filed electronically with the IRS since 2011. That accounts for about two-thirds of nonprofits’ tax filings in recent years.

This type of text search has been available in subscription databases before, but not open to the general public as is this tool. With Congress and the IRS pushing for mandatory e-filing, it is only a matter of time before all nonprofit filings are available online in machine-readable format.

One of the implications for private foundations is that lists of grantee organizations will be easily searchable online. However, as many will attest, rarely do these lists tell the full story of a foundation’s grantmaking.

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Philippe Cousteau Jr.

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

Jun06

Any conversation around the next 50 years of philanthropy -- Southern or otherwise -- would be incomplete without devoting significant time to the threats facing our environment, particularly climate change and its effect on the global ocean that covers 70 percent of the planet.

The health of our planet and its oceans will be on the main stage at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting through a presentation led by Philippe Cousteau Jr., whose family name has become synonymous with ocean exploration and conservation. Philippe, the grandson of the renowned Jacques Cousteau, will use photos and videos during his Friday morning plenary as he explores lessons learned growing up as part of a legendary family and the critical pathways we need to focus on in order to return our oceans to abundance.

"Growing up I was inspired by the work of my grandfather and father," Cousteau said in a recent interview with Australia's Grazia magazine. "[My grandfather] opened the world's eyes to the wonders beneath the waves and the need to protect and restore the health of our oceans. My father Philippe Sr. joined him and was a world-renowned filmmaker and explorer in his own right."

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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Phil Buchanan

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

May30

This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100!

SECF has long had a strong relationship with The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) and its president, Phil Buchanan. Buchanan was a plenary speaker at the 2015 Annual Meeting and facilitated conversations at SECF's CEO Forum, and CEP reports and articles make regular appearances in the weekly Connect newsletter.

That fruitful relationship will continue at this year's Annual Meeting, when Buchanan will speak to alumni of SECF's leadership development programs, including the Hull Fellows Program, at a special reception on the meeting's second day. He's also set to facilitate a session earlier that day on how learning from failure can be a best practice regularly undertaken to benefit a foundation.

Buchanan is in-demand these days, thanks largely to his new book, Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count. While it follows the release of several books -- David Callahan's The Givers, Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All, and others -- that have been largely critical, Buchanan's book is rooted in a more optimistic view of the field.

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

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

May29


Note: This post is the fifth in 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: Kentucky.


Kentucky Philanthropy Snapshot

First SECF Member: Foundation for the Tri-State (joined 1980)
Newest SECF Member: Lawrence and Augusta Hager Educational Foundation (joined November 2018)
Number of SECF Members: 21


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


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SECF Staff Highlight: Gratia Sullivan

Tags: SECF Staff 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

May23

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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50th Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Andy Goodman

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

May16

This profile is part of an occasional series highlighting speakers at SECF's 50th Annual Meeting! Register by July 1 and save $100!

SECF's 50th Annual Meeting will mark the close of one chapter and the beginning of the next -- part of an ongoing story of philanthropy in the South, its growth and evolution, and its power to transform lives and communities.

Within that large, overarching story are many others, being written every day by foundations and the people who lead them. Yet people and organizations can easily get caught up in the day-to-day, unable to appreciate the powerful, long-running narratives they help write through their work. Too often, these stories go untold.

Andy Goodman, who will take the main stage during the second day of the Annual Meeting, has devoted his career to changing that. As the co-founder and director of The Goodman Center, and author of Storytelling as Best Practice, he argues that stories are integral to organizational success.

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2019 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey Now Open

Author: Stephen Sherman

May16

SECF is pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations and the United Philanthropy Forum to encourage participation in the 2019 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey.

The annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey provides grantmakers with the most comprehensive data on foundation staff salary and compensation data. The 2019 survey also includes questions related to board compensation and demographics.

Your participation in the GSB survey is needed – the greater the participation, the greater the insights for the sector.

What’s the benefit for participating organizations?

All survey participants will receive a copy of the full GSB report, the board compensation report, and access to COF’s benchmarking platform to create custom salary reports. The full report and board compensation report retail for $538, but are offered free to participating organizations. Both reports will be released in October 2019.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
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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.