All About Our New Name - And Why It's Happening


By Janine Lee

Last week’s Annual Meeting was incredible for many reasons, but near the top of the list was our announcement of a new name for our organization: Philanthropy Southeast!

Since many people were not able to join us in Asheville this year, I wanted to take some time here to talk about our new name, the process that led up to it and what it means for our members going forward.

Philanthropy Southeast represents what we are today: an inclusive and courageous community of leaders working together for change, committed to a vision of a just and equitable South. We embrace philanthropy in all its forms – a “big tent” that welcomes many types of organizations and many forms of philanthropic capital. We focus not only on how philanthropy is done, but also the issues it addresses and the communities it serves.

Our new name was approved by an overwhelming majority in a vote of our members conducted ahead of this year’s Annual Meeting. I believe that margin was a result of the deliberate and thoughtful approach we took to this process, which began when we were planning our 50th Anniversary in 2019.

The members who served on our 50th Anniversary Task Force were the first to suggest it was time to consider a new name and a new look for our organization. Our Board agreed, and throughout that year we worked with a leading communications and branding firm to research how our members viewed us and what they valued. Many of you participated in this process along the way and we appreciate your feedback!

We learned that our members saw us as a warm, connected, supporting, active and changing organization, qualities that could be seen at our events and programs, in our work on public policy, the leadership of our Equity Framework and the values we uphold. At the same time, there was also broad agreement that the way we presented ourselves did not always line up with the reality our members experienced.

We believe our new name, along with a new look and feel we will implement throughout the remainder of the year, align with what our members have already experienced for years. We also believe they will represent us well to others who may be interested in joining or partnering with us in the future.

While the vote on our new name was overwhelmingly supportive, it was not unanimous. If you didn’t support this decision, or are skeptical about it, I want to assure you that we deeply value your voice and welcome your feedback on this and all other aspects of our work. We look forward to staying engaged with you as we move ahead, together.

I also want all our members to know that the things you value and expect as a member of the Southeastern Council of Foundations will continue with Philanthropy Southeast! We will continue to be a source of research and data and the latest information on trends and emerging best practices in philanthropy. We will serve as a voice for Southeastern philanthropy on the national level – both in the public policy arena and among other philanthropy-serving organizations. Philanthropy Southeast will remain an essential connector and convener, putting our members in touch with one another, as well as with national funders, experts and thought leaders.

Philanthropy Southeast, we believe, captures these qualities, as well as the additional value we have added in recent years. We are very excited to bring it to you, starting with our member renewal campaign that kicks off later this month.

In the meantime, you will continue to see our previous name and logo in some places between now and the end of the year. Just as we were thoughtful and deliberate with this decision, we are also taking our time with rolling it out so that it does not disrupt your ability to connect with our staff or resources online. Your patience is appreciated!

As we implement this change, I invite you to contact me or other members of our staff with questions or feedback. Thank you for your support – and welcome to Philanthropy Southeast!

Janine Lee is president and CEO of Philanthropy Southeast.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
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