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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.


Submit Your Nominee for the 2021 Truist Promise Award

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Sep30

This year’s Annual Meeting will include the second presentation of the Truist Promise Award recognizing innovative philanthropy in the Southeast! Last year, this prestigious honor honored work done by two SECF members: the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Nominations for this year’s Truist Promise Award are now open. The award recognizes 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.

The Truist Promise Award recognizes work that focuses on significant and systemic issues facing the region and the country today. In addition, 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 2021 Annual Meeting.

Nominations are due Friday, October 15. Click here to submit your nominee!

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Update on Annual Meeting COVID Protocols

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Aug26

This information was updated on August 26, 2021. Further updates will be posted here as needed.

Throughout our planning for SECF's 52nd Annual Meeting, we have been keeping a close eye on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Delta variant has driven a significant spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, particularly in the South.

We are still planning to host our in-person meeting in Asheville but are making some changes to our meeting policies to protect the health and safety of our attendees and reflect the current state of the pandemic and the latest public health guidance.

First, we are changing our cancellation policy to allow attendees to cancel and receive a full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee, by October 1 -- a month later than normal. The state of the pandemic is changing constantly and rapidly. Pushing back our cancelation deadline gives attendees the ability to make an informed decision with a better idea of what the state of the pandemic will be in November.

Second, we will now require all Annual Meeting registrants to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test from the past 48 hours before attending any Annual Meeting functions. Speakers and staff will also be subject to this requirement. We are currently exploring several options for verifying this information on-site. Anyone who cannot present this information will be directed to testing options.

We want to encourage you to receive a COVID vaccination if you have not already. Vaccines are proven to be safe and incredibly effective at preventing severe cases. They remain the best tool we have for bringing this pandemic to an end.

We are continuing to assess all aspects of the Annual Meeting to ensure it is as safe as possible while providing an enjoyable, informative and inspiring experience. We will continue to provide updates as the meeting draws closer. In the meantime, we appreciate your continued support, understanding and flexibility.

The SECF staff is also available to help answer any questions you may have. You can call us at (404) 524-0911 or email Dena Chadwick, SECF's chief operating officer, at dena@secf.org.

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Summer 2021 Issue of Inspiration Magazine Now Available!

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

Jul22

SECF members now have access to the latest issue of Inspiration, SECF’s quarterly magazine dedicated to sharing stories of philanthropy’s impact in communities across the region. Here’s what you can look forward to in the latest issue:

  • A look at a partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Southern Poverty Law Center to help boost voter turnout and ballot access in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
  • In Arkansas, leaders at three different foundations have built a new collaborative organization that is not only connecting Black philanthropic leaders with one another, but also helping direct support to Black-serving and Black-led nonprofits.
  • Foundations are working to promote active and engaged communities by supporting local media, which has struggled to survive amid consolidation in the industry and competition from the internet.
  • A Q&A interview with Jessie Ball duPont Fund President Mari Kuraishi, who reflects on her experiences since stepping into her role two years ago.

Each issue of Inspiration also includes a message from SECF President & CEO Janine Lee, a review of new staff and trustees in the region, and an introduction to our latest members.

A copy of Inspiration is mailed to each of our member offices. You can also access a PDF of the issue by logging in to SECF.org!

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SECF's Next Chapter: A Commitment to Courageous Leadership

Author: Janine Lee

Apr29

This week, we proudly announced our Courageous Leadership Strategy, a new strategic direction that will guide SECF’s work through 2025. We are incredibly excited to begin this new chapter of SECF’s history – one we believe will be transformative for not just our organization, but also all of Southern philanthropy and the communities in our region.

While this strategic direction will be used to establish concrete goals for our staff and Board – you can view our specific goals here – we sought to develop a plan for 2021-25 that would go beyond a list of items. We wanted to define a new approach for SECF that reflects all we have done in recent years as well as the challenges and opportunities of today. 

Thanks to the hard work of our Strategic Planning Task Force, our staff and our Board, I am confident we have succeeded in putting SECF on a bold path defined by a commitment to courage.

Our overriding goal for this new chapter is to not only demonstrate courageous leadership, but also call our members to it. We believe answering the call to courageous leadership will be essential to meet the opportunities and challenges facing both philanthropy in the South and communities in the South during the next five years. 

We plan to exercise courageous leadership by pursuing 10 priorities, both internal and external, plus a vital cross-cutting priority: ongoing integration of our Equity Framework, first introduced in 2019.

By committing ourselves to courageous leadership, SECF is also committing itself to mobilize people and resources, in our organization and our network, in service to a new mission: We will strengthen Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.

This work, we hope, will bring into reality a new vision: a courageous community of philanthropists, leading work that results in an equitable South defined by justice, hope and opportunity for all.

Fulfilling commitments to our new mission and vision, as well as the values and guiding principles we adopted last year, will require hard work. We must address critical issues facing philanthropy in the South and its communities. We must take risks and make bold leaps.

By adopting this new direction, we pledge to do all of these things – and will call our members to do the same. I am confident that many of you will answer this call. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Janine Lee is president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations.

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Verdict in George Floyd Murder Trial Is Progress, But Systemic Change Still Needed

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Apr22

This week’s verdict in Minneapolis represents a measure of accountability and progress in the struggle against anti-Black violence in America. For centuries, warrantless killings of Black men, women and children, particularly those carried out by law enforcement, have gone unpunished in America – this verdict is proof that this does not need to be the case and that change is possible. It is consistent with the ideals of liberty and equal justice under the law that our nation has aspired to since its founding.

However, the verdict does not change the fact that George Floyd should still be alive – Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others should be as well. These deaths rob communities of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles. Each of these deaths ends a life that all of us should value.

To live out the belief that Black lives matter, we must build a society where everyone is treated equally under the law, where racial murders and violence are no longer acceptable nor routine, and where those who commit such acts are consistently brought to justice. Racism has had a corrupting effect on law enforcement and many other institutions, but we believe there are good people within these systems who can join together with courage, persistence and purpose to bring about systemic change.

We pledge ourselves to working with our members and the communities in our region to do this work, and to turn our shared vision of an equitable South, and an equitable America, into a reality.

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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!

Read More


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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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: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.