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

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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Responding to COVID-19 in... Birmingham, Alabama

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Apr23

This post continues a series highlighting the responses of SECF members to the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities. We will use this series to highlight partnerships, coalitions and innovative examples of giving that help those affected by this crisis. If you are involved in a program you would like to see highlighted here, contact David Miller, director of marketing and communications, at david@secf.org.


Even as essential workers have put their health at risk and endured long hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the supports that allow them to work under normal circumstances are no longer available – including child care.

In Alabama, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham is working to fill a critical gap created by the closure of schools and day care centers. Their response will be fueled by money raised through the new ROAR for Women Fund.

“ROAR aims to provide direct relief and recovery for an industry that is one of the most critical infrastructures in our state: child care,” said Melanie Bridgeforth, president and CEO of The Women’s Fund, a grantmaking public charity. “The funds will largely support women-owned businesses powered by women employees. ROAR is also giving essential workers – the majority of whom are women – the ability to continue their vital work as the crisis stretches on.”

The need for ROAR came into focus quickly once the severity of the pandemic became clear, Bridgeforth said.

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Announcing the First Selection of the Chair's Book Club: The Sun Does Shine

Author: Regan Gruber Moffitt and Robert Dortch

May14


We are excited to invite you to join the new SECF Chair’s Book Club. Our hope is that the books we read and the discussions we have will inspire us to find common ground, build meaningful relationships, and deepen our understanding of equity.
The first book, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton, builds on the deeply moving and passionate keynote by Bryan Stevenson at the SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting last November.  Stevenson, who spent his career helping those who were unjustly accused or wrongfully convicted, called upon philanthropy to be proximate to the places, people and problems that our organizations support, to change existing narratives, to remain hopeful and, most importantly, to do things that are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Anthony Ray Hinton was one of those who was represented by Stevenson. 

The Sun Does Shine is Hinton’s memoir of peace, purpose, and eventually freedom after serving 30 years on Alabama’s death row after being wrongfully convicted. The brilliantly written personal narrative instructs, inspires, and creates an imperative for action. 

SECF is providing access to the eBook version of the title through our recently launched Lending Library, or you can obtain a copy through your local bookseller or public library. Sign up here to participate in the Chair’s Book Club and we’ll soon share more information on how to get started and how to engage in discussion groups with your fellow SECF members.

Regan Gruber Moffitt is chief strategy officer at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and chair of the SECF Board of Trustees. Robert Dortch is vice president of program and community innovation at the Robins Foundation and chair-elect of the SECF Board.

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Member Highlight: Troy Fountain

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Apr15

When Troy Fountain joined the staff of the Wiregrass Foundation as executive vice president in early 2020, a clear plan was in place: spend a year learning the ropes from outgoing president Barbara Alford, then take over for her in 2021.

That’s exactly what happened, but it doesn’t tell the full story, of course – the past year ended up testing Troy and the foundation in ways he could have never expected, but also in ways that allowed him to see leadership on display on a regular basis.

“Even though 2020 was a different year from many, the principles of leadership learned from Dr. Alford were timeless,” Troy said. “One example is that of learning to ask the right questions. Dr. Alford modeled this well and helped me understand that good strategy comes from good answers to the right questions.”

Troy is now putting what he’s learned to use, leading work on a number of projects, including a Transformation Through the Arts initiative that will be profiled in the upcoming issue of SECF’s Inspiration magazine. That work has seen the foundation serve as a convener, bringing together a diverse set of partners to boost the arts in and around Dothan, Alabama.

Troy said the foundation’s experience with Transformation Through the Arts offers lessons that can be useful to other foundations, no matter the community they serve or the subject area they focus on.

“Most of us live in very diverse communities and every voice needs to have the opportunity to be heard,” he said. “We have worked hard while working on Transformation Through the Arts to make sure that every part of our community is heard and or represented in meetings and planning events. People are more likely to buy into a project where they feel that their voice has been listened to and considered.”

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

Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Hours:
Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (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.