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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.


Our Response to Anti-Asian Violence

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar17

We are deeply saddened and disturbed by yesterday’s shootings in Atlanta that left eight dead, including six Asian American women. These horrific incidents are only the latest in a national wave of violence targeting people of Asian descent. We strongly condemn these actions, as well as the use of racist rhetoric against Asian people that has stoked the flames of hatred and put lives and safety at risk.

We stand with our friends at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) who are working to raise awareness of the issues facing the Asian American/Pacific Islander community and the nonprofit organizations that support them. AAPIP has also responded to yesterday’s violence and has prepared a resource guide for grantmakers looking to do more in their own communities – these actions can help support those in need and further the essential work of building a society free of racial violence.

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Remembering Bob Hull (1932-2021)

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar09

The SECF family lost one of its most influential members last month with the passing of Bob Hull, who served as our president and CEO from 1978 until 1997 and inspired the creation of the Hull Fellows leadership development program. He was 88 years old.

“Under Bob’s leadership, SECF went from a young membership association still finding its way to a recognized leader within our region and the American philanthropic landscape,” current president and CEO Janine Lee said. “He became a valuable mentor to me and countless others in Southern philanthropy – that legacy of mentorship will live on for years to come through the Hull Fellows program, which recently celebrated 20 years of leadership development.”

SECF President & CEO Janine Lee shares the stage at the 50th Annual Meeting with her predecessors (left to right) Martin Lehfeldt, Bob Hull and Pete McTier.

 

Even though Hull retired nearly 25 years ago, he continued to be a regular presence at SECF events and programs until the present day. He and his wife, Shannon, were a regular presence at the Annual Meeting as SECF’s honored guests. His last Annual Meeting would be the 50th Anniversary celebration in Atlanta, which he helped plan as a member of the 50th Anniversary Task Force.

He also played an active role in the Hull Fellows program that bears his name. In recent years, he spoke to each class, both in-person and via webinar, to share his wit and wisdom with the next generation of philanthropic leaders. 

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2020 Annual Report: Tested, Resilient and Ready

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb25

2020 was a year that tested us like never before.

Our homes became our offices… and some of our home offices became classrooms.

We sheltered in place… but turned out to vote in record numbers.

We covered our faces… but raised our voices to fight for racial justice.

In philanthropy, we experienced moments of doubt, disbelief and pain – but also moments of determination, inspiration and innovation.

At SECF, we learned a lot – about the power of philanthropy, about the dedication of SECF members to their communities and about our own ability to adapt, grow and meet the needs of this unique moment.

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Nominations Are Open for the 2020 Truist Promise Award!

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Sep17

This year’s Annual Meeting will feature the first presentation of the Truist Promise Award recognizing innovative philanthropy in the Southeast! We are excited to announce that we are now accepting nominations for this prestigious honor!

The Truist Promise Award will recognize a particular initiative and/or innovative grantmaking strategy or approach, done by an individual organization or through a collective partnership – as such, it may be presented to more than one foundation if the initiative is a product of partnership and collaboration. Due to the extraordinary health, economic, and racial justice crises currently facing the country, this year’s Promise Award will also recognize work that focuses on at least one of these areas.

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Work focused on issues of racial equity, racial justice or anti-racism.
  • The innovative use of multiple forms of philanthropic capital, particularly beyond financial capital.
  • Use of data and research in determining strategies and tactics.
  • Cooperation with community partners, particularly in other sectors, or direct engagement with community members.
  • Impact/outcomes that are evidence-based.

You may nominate any SECF member organization, including your own, for the Promise Award. The recipient will be selected by a group of SECF staff and Board members and recognized at the 2020 Annual Meeting.

Nominations are due Friday, October 9. Click here to submit your nominee!

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Summer 2020 Issue of SECF’s Inspiration Magazine Now Available!

Tags: Inspiration 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul23

SECF members now have access to the Summer 2020 issue of Inspiration, SECF’s quarterly magazine dedicated to sharing stories of innovative philanthropy throughout the region. 

In this special edition of Inspiration, we asked foundation leaders to offer their reflections on the rising calls for racial justice that have taken place across the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Each of them offered powerful words, not only on responding to the current moment, but also on what philanthropy must do going forward to spark lasting change and promote equity in the South.

Other features in this issue include:

  • Part two of our four-part series on equity journeys undertaken by SECF members. In this installment, we look at the James Graham Brown Foundation as it deepens its commitment to equity amid protests in its hometown of Louisville in response to Floyd’s death and that of Breonna Taylor.
  • A rural perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now on the rise in many states throughout the region and spiking well beyond the large metropolitan areas where it first took root. As a recent study shows, these areas now battling the pandemic were already among some of the most disadvantaged in the country.
  • A look at the values and guiding principles that are pointing the way forward for foundations in a turbulent time. Like SECF’s own Values & Guiding Principles, these statements provide a north star that inspires strategy and tactics.

This issue also includes a letter from President & CEO Janine Lee, who reflects on the inequitable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s reckoning with racial violence and systemic racism.

Due to the ongoing closures caused by the pandemic, this issue of Inspiration will be exclusively available to SECF members online at SECF.org – you can view our full Inspiration archive here.

Do you have a story you’d like to see told in the next issue of Inspiration? Let us know by contacting David Miller, director of marketing and communications, at david@secf.org.

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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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Southeast Responses Needed for 2020 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

May07

SECF is pleased to partner with the Council on Foundations (COF) and the United Philanthropy Forum to encourage participation in the 2020 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey.

The annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey provides grantmakers with the most comprehensive data on foundation staff and board compensation. Through this partnership, SECF is able to provide custom salary tables for Southeast grantmakers each fall. 

Your participation in the GSB survey is needed – the greater the participation, the greater the insights for the sector and for your fellow SECF members. 

What’s the benefit for participating organizations?

All survey participants (both COF members and non-members) 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 otherwise sells for $438 but is offered free to participating organizations. Reports and data will be released in October 2020.

How to Participate:

If you participated in the 2019 survey, go to Benchmark Central (https://bmc.cof.org/) and log in using your cof.org credentials to start the survey. Need help with your login? Email research@cof.org

If you did not participate in the 2019 survey, email research@cof.org with the first and last name, title, and email for each individual needing access.

Note that multiple individuals from your organization can work on your submission simultaneously, but each team member will need their own login and it is recommended that you appoint one person to coordinate your submission. 

See this page for answers to frequently asked questions as well as a list of documents you’ll need to complete the survey.

Thank you in advance for completing the GSB survey! Please submit your responses by Sunday, May 31. For more information, visit cof.org/2020GSBSurvey or email research@cof.org.

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SECF's Lending Library Is Now Online!

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Apr02


Today marks the debut of the SECF Lending Library – a members-only source of books and audiobooks on philanthropy, equity, leadership and more!

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen that SECF members are eager for resources to inform and inspire their work. The SECF Lending Library makes obtaining these easier than ever – our curated collection is accessible from most of the devices you’re using at home, including laptops, smartphones, tablets and Kindle devices!

You can check out titles from the SECF Lending Library starting now! Our selections include works by national experts and thought leaders, plus recent Annual Meeting speakers like Bryan Stevenson and Isabel Wilkerson!

The Lending Library will also serve as the platform for the upcoming Chair’s Book Club, a key initiative inspired by our Equity Framework. We look forward to revealing the first Chair’s Book Club selection soon!

SECF has partnered with OverDrive to provide this new benefit – OverDrive works with hundreds of public library systems across the country to offer e-books and audiobooks to patrons free of charge. Just like these public libraries, the SECF Lending Library catalog will be accessible from Libby, a user-friendly app for iOS and Android devices that allows for borrowing and reading all in one place as well as Kindle devices. 

You can view our full guide to the SECF Lending Library here. If you’re ready to get started, click here to view all our available titles!

If you have questions or recommendations for future Lending Library titles, contact Stephen Sherman, SECF’s director of research and data, at stephen@secf.org or by calling (404) 524-0911.

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SECF's Response to COVID-19 Coronavirus

Author: Janine Lee and Regan Gruber Moffitt

Mar12

Like many of you, SECF has been closely monitoring developments related to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. As a membership association, we want to provide you with information on how you and your organization can best respond to this outbreak. We also want to update you on how SECF is responding, including the impact on our events and programs.

Last week we posted a collection of resources on SECF.org to help foundations take action to protect their employees and visitors – foundations, like any other workplace, should follow these guidelines and make their employees aware of actions they can take to limit the spread of the virus. We will continue to update this post as new information and resources become available. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also continually updating their COVID-19 pages with new information. SECF.org also includes links to resources from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy on how philanthropic organizations can support response and recovery to the outbreak.

Several of our members have contacted us regarding the status of upcoming SECF programs. The health and safety of our members and staff is our highest priority – in order to reduce the need for traveling and maintain social distancing, we have made the following modifications to our program schedule:

  • The Atlanta Foundations Forum event scheduled for April 9 has been postponed. We are working to reschedule this event for a date later in 2020.
  • We will announce by Friday, March 20, whether the CEO Forum, currently scheduled for April 23-24 in Sarasota, Florida, will need to be moved to another date later this year.
  • No other changes to our program lineup have been made at this time; however, we will continually assess whether events need to be rescheduled as the situation develops.

The SECF staff will remain available to support you during this time. However, out of an abundance of caution, our staff will begin working remotely on Friday, March 13 through Friday, April 3, at which point we will evaluate whether to reopen our offices. We believe we have the technology in place to make this an easy transition, though we do ask for your flexibility and patience over the first two days of this process in case technical complications arise.

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Two SECF Staff Members Promoted Heading Into 2020

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Janine Lee

Dec19

SECF enjoyed incredible success during its 50th Anniversary year -- in more ways than one, we exceeded the high expectations we placed on ourselves for 2019, a year capped off by our largest Annual Meeting ever!

This success could not have happened without the hard work, leadership and dedication of the SECF staff. Heading into 2020, two staff members have earned promotions that reflect not only the work they have done previously, but also the added leadership responsibilities they will take on going forward.

First, Dena Chadwick has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO). Dena has been with SECF for more than a decade. In that time, she has brought a level of discipline, rigor and sophistication to SECF's operations that is unmatched within the field. Dena has provided unparalleled staff leadership in multiple areas, especially finance and auditing, Board relations, governance and human resources. For many years, she led the planning for one of SECF's signature events, the CEO Forum, and was the staff lead on the development of our Equity Framework.

Meanwhile, she has run a tight ship while also ensuring that SECF provides the best support possible to our high-performing staff. In the year ahead, Dena will also serve as the staff lead as SECF works toward the development of our next strategic plan.

Second, Stephen Sherman has been promoted to Director of Research and Data. Since joining the staff in 2017, Stephen has proven himself essential to making SECF a go-to source of research and data on Southern philanthropic trends and history -- the first stated goal of our current strategic plan. After joining our team, Stephen immediately dedicated himself to working with our partners at MDC on the release of Philanthropy as the South's Passing Gear: Fulfilling the Promise and, in the years following, a series of successful Passing Gear events held around the region.

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

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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.