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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.


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

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

Dec13

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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Member Highlight: Mark C. Callaway

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Dec13

If you've attended an Annual Meeting session on impact investing in the last few years, you've probably heard from Mark Callaway - there might be no bigger evangelist for the practice in all of SECF's membership.

Mark, who was elected to the SECF Board of Trustees at this year's Annual Meeting, developed an interest in environmental and social issues while living in Northern California in the 1960s and 70s - that led him to later embrace the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) movement in the early 2000s.

Mark said impact investing will continue to be a focus in his work as a Board member.

"I feel very strongly about the Impact space and wanted to make sure that I could continue to focus in that area," Mark said. "I think the opportunity to showcase Impact Investing at the 50th Annual Meeting will be an ideal opportunity for us to focus on the work that is being done in the Southeast in this space that doesn't usually get the opportunity to be highlighted."

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An Incredible Year Sets Up SECF for An Even Better 2019

Author: Gilbert Miller

Dec12

When my plane took off from Louisville's airport, I could see the Ohio River and the bridges that spanned it, reaching out into Indiana. The cloud cover was low, and the image quickly dissolved into white, leaving me to reflect on the meeting I was leaving behind.

It's hard to sum up an SECF Annual Meeting. It's one part family reunion, one part conference, one part tent revival, one part continuing education, and one part party. In 72 hours, we cover a lot of ground, and I remain amazed each year by all that happens for the betterment of our membership.

This year, however, felt different. From all corners, I heard talk of a "feeling," of a sense of something intangible that wove itself to the entirety of the event. Attendees felt more "together" than they had in the past, and the conversations outside in the halls were of partnerships and collaborations. Embracing the theme, it is hard to not feel like bridges were being built, or at least, that bridges in disuse were being crossed once again.

Looking back on the year, it is hard not to see those same bridges being built across our entire membership. As chair, the view I am afforded is awe-inspiring, giving me great hope for the times ahead.

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2018 Member Survey: Foundations Value SECF Network, Have Strong Interest in Equity

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: David Miller

Dec06

Attendees at this year's Annual Meeting in Louisville received an advance look at the results of SECF's 2018 Member Survey - the Key Findings Report, now available on SECF.org, reveals critical insights into the operations and interest of foundations across the region.

Here are some highlights from this year's findings:

Staff sizes are gradually increasing: In our 2016 survey, 63 percent of respondents reporting having five or fewer full-time staff members - that number went down to 51 percent in this year's survey. Staff sizes vary widely based on the type of foundation. Community foundations averaged 12 full-time employees, while family foundations average four staff members.

Community and networking remain major draws: Nearly half of respondents, 47 percent, said they joined SECF to be part of a philanthropic community. Nearly three-quarters said networking opportunities were a top SECF benefit. Research on philanthropic trends was the second-highest rated benefit, followed closely by leadership development and legislative updates.

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Member Highlight: Michael Tipton

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Nov29

Cross-sector partnership is already integral to Michael Tipton's work - his role as the head of a corporate foundation puts him at the intersection of philanthropy and the private sector.

Now, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana president is looking forward to exploring partnership from a new perspective, as a member of the SECF Board of Trustees.

"I think foundations in our region can be critical partners with government, the nonprofit sector, business and others in addressing some of our most critical issues," Michael said. "Serving on the Board of SECF gives me a window into how other foundations and our region is approaching this opportunity and gives me a chance to support our collective efforts to give back in strategic ways to the communities in which we live and work."

Michael leads the foundation's efforts to improve health outcomes in Louisiana - a state that is far behind the rest of the nation on many health-related metrics. However, Michael sees several bright spots that can serve as inspiration for the rest of the state, and the region.

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Member Highlight: Eric Kelly

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Nov15

When Eric Kelly became president of the Quantum Foundation five years ago, he quickly learned that SECF would be there to support him as he settled into his new role.

"I had been in philanthropy for 15 years and had served in executive-level leadership, but this was a new leadership role for me. One of the very first calls that I received was from Janine Lee," Eric said. "That year I attended the CEO Forum and had a chance to experience SECF at a closer level- It was amazing!"

Those initial experiences set Eric on the path to being engaged with SECF events and programs year after year. Now, he'll get to play an even larger role in the organization as a member of the Board of Trustees. He said he felt "both ecstatic and completely humble" when asked to serve.

"It was such an honor to be asked to join the board," he said. "Every event I attend is so helpful to me and to our team. I would comment to myself, 'it would nice to serve on the board of SECF when I grow up.' I wanted to serve in a capacity that would give me a chance to offer leadership and service to the foundations in our region."

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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.