Helping the Formerly Incarcerated Integrate Into the Community – and Stay Out of Prison
Author: Tristi Charpentier
For years, Louisiana incarcerated more people per capita than anywhere in the world. At an annual rate of more than $17,000 per inmate, incarceration costs Louisiana taxpayers almost $700 million each year,1 and nearly 36 percent of formerly incarcerated persons return to prison within three years of their exits.2
Since 2004, the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation has funded programs to reduce the barriers hindering the successful return of individuals to communities in Louisiana. While it may be easy to forget people behind bars, 95 percent of those imprisoned will return to our communities.3 Recidivism – the subsequent commission of a crime and reincarceration – affects every member of the community.
In 2015, the foundation embarked on a journey to become more strategic in its prison re-entry work. We recognized that in order to achieve a large-scale reduction in recidivism rates, it would be insufficient for the foundation to continue to provide small, direct-service grants. The foundation partnered with The Rensselaerville Institute to develop a Strategic Results Framework with two goals in mind: to become an investor in outcomes rather than a funder of activities, and to create an initiative focused on supporting the success of returning citizens. These two ideas came together in the form of the three-year, $3 million Prison Reentry Initiative.
One of the keys to the Initiative was a shift in the foundation’s decision-making approach: from funding of activities to investing in results. Applications for the Initiative were evaluated from the perspective of an investor answering three critical questions:
- What results are being proposed?
- How likely is it that this group can achieve the proposed results?
- Is this the best possible use of foundation funds?
Research Library Updates for 1st Quarter of 2020
Author: Stephen Sherman
In order to provide our members with the latest data and analysis on philanthropy and the issues it seeks to address, we continually make updates to the SECF.org Research Library, available exclusively to members (login required). Members can browse hundreds of research reports, websites, case studies, and other resources that we’ve cultivated to help Southern funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy.
This post captures some of the most recent additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen Sherman, SECF’s Research and Data Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 524-0911.
Funding for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Candid has set up a pop-up resource page to provide the latest information on the philanthropic response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The page includes sections listing funding opportunities, national and local response funds, related news items, and blog posts addressing philanthropy's response to the crisis.
Leadership in Difficult Times: Guidance for Donors and Giving Families: Responding to the Emerging COVID-19 and Economic Crises
National Center for Family Philanthropy (2020)
In response to inquiries from member families and funders, NCFP has developed this guide as an initial compilation of lessons and inspirations to help funders and families respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the near-term. The guide offers ideas and resources from philanthropic families, family foundations, philanthropic support organizations, philanthropic advisors, and NCFP’s team, many drawn from responses to previous crises.
SECF's Lending Library Is Now Online!
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
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 email@example.com or by calling (404) 524-0911.
COVID-19 Coronavirus: What Foundations Need to Know
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
UPDATE (March 16, 2020): New guidance from the CDC released March 15 recommends postponing all gatherings of 50 people or more for at least two months.
The SECF staff is working remotely but remains available to support our members. You can reach our team via e-mail or by calling (404) 524-0911. Read more about our response here.
UPDATE (March 12, 2020): We have added new information from the CDC on steps foundations can take to slow the spread of the virus. See the links below in the How Foundations Can Prepare section.
UPDATE (March 8, 2020): New guidance from the CDC recommends that anyone in a higher-risk group for becoming very sick due to COVID-19 should "stay home as much as possible." Those at higher risk include "older adults and people who have severe, chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease."
More than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have been reported in the United States since January 21 – this includes cases reported in 10 of 11 states in the SECF footprint.
The spread of the virus has sparked discussion of not only how philanthropy can best respond, but also of how foundations can best operate in an environment where fears of the disease are running high and where separating fact from rumor and misinformation can be difficult.
SECF has put together a collection of resources to help members deal with the impact of this growing pandemic. In addition, our staff is available to provide further assistance if needed – please contact us at (404) 524-0911 if you need our support.
Fall 2019 Issue of SECF’s Inspiration Magazine Now Available!
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
The latest issue of Inspiration, SECF’s quarterly magazine dedicated to sharing stories of Southern philanthropy’s impact, is now available at SECF.org, with print editions arriving this week in the mail as well.
The fall 2019 issue includes:
- A look into the health equity work being pursued by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, which was established six years ago and, since day one, has been focused on addressing the root causes of health outcome disparities in its community.
- The final installment of our Then, Now & What’s Next series marking SECF’s 50th Anniversary. Our retrospective look at SECF’s history and impact on the field concludes by examining the evolution of foundation leadership in the South. Significant changes in the last 50 years include an increasingly diverse crop of leaders and growing complexity in duties and responsibilities.
- FSG, which will present a special postconference session at the Annual Meeting, walks through out changes made internally to advance equity can help a foundation do the same in its community.
Also in this issue: a message from SECF President & CEO Janine Lee, updates on new hires and promotions, a round-up of the latest members to join the SECF family and more, including a profile of a longtime SECF staff member who will attend her final Annual Meeting this year.
A print copy of Inspiration is mailed to each member organization as well as individual Hull Fellows alumni. Members can also login to SECF.org to download a PDF version.
If you have a story idea for an upcoming issue of Inspiration, contact David Miller, director of marketing and communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Youth Organizing Can Be a Powerful Strategy for Funders
Author: Eric Braxton
Part of the power of youth organizing is that it connects individual transformation to systemic change, and supporting youth-led change is an important grantmaking strategy. It brings together the right people with the right strategies to create social change and protects our other investments by cultivating a leadership pipeline for the future. From the Civil Rights Movement to current efforts for safe communities and just schools, young people from across the South have always been at the forefront of advocating for just and equitable communities. Building on this proud tradition, a new generation of Southern young people is leading efforts to advance health, justice, equity and dignity. At the same time, new research is showing that engaging young people in organizing to create lasting change in their communities is one of the best ways to support their development. Youth organizing efforts in the South have succeeded in achieving real change for their communities such as:
The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO), in collaboration with Grantmakers for Southern Progress, The Highlander Research and Education Center, Project South, The Southeastern Council of Foundations, Southern Echo, Inc., Southern Vision Alliance and The United Way of Greater Atlanta is holding a funder briefing on June 4 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Loudermilk Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to engage with youth leaders and local and national funders to discuss how to support young people as drivers of community change across the South. We urge funders across the region to join us.
Attendees can expect three takeaways from this interactive day:
Small Foundations Can Have a Big Impact with Effective Communications
Author: Kristen Keely-Dinger and Jennifer Oldham
Hiring communications staff is usually not at the top of mind for small foundations. Administrative and grant-focused staff usually take priority, and while those positions are necessary, having a communications-focused staff member can also be beneficial to smaller foundations.
As a small health legacy foundation with five staff, we understand the need for efficient use of resources. We want to remain lean and nimble, but we also want to have a big impact. We have seen how focusing on communications can help a foundation meet our missions and advance our causes.
In 2013, our board adopted a new strategic plan which included "promoting our work" as one of the key objectives of the plan. Prior to this time, we typically used only our website and targeted emails to communicate about the work of the foundation. With this new strategic objective, it became clear that we were going to need to focus more of our resources into communicating not only with our grantees but also within the wider community.
Philanthropic Networks Have a Powerful Role to Play in Advancing Equity
Author: David Maurrasse
Racial inequities have persisted over generations. Social movements have challenged structural racism and encouraged the societal and policy changes required to alter various dimensions of deep-seated inequities. Whatever progress has transpired over the last several decades, recent developments have reminded us of the depth and breadth of contemporary racism. From incidents of police brutality, to the continued criminalization of people of color, to the normalizing of anti-immigrant sentiments and white supremacist thinking that were exacerbated during the 2016 elections, we have received many reminders how much work is to be done. And it is difficult to grapple with, what feels much more like movement backward in an area where so many had hoped we were on a faster track to progress with the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
In this context, conversations about race and racial equity and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) have increased in the field of philanthropy. As philanthropic contributions are often designated to address many of the issues (education, health, etc.) in which racial disparities are highly apparent, it is no wonder more voices inside and outside of the field are wondering about the role of foundations in advancing racial equity. While there is much to be done in society at large, there is also a great deal of work required if philanthropy is going to become a reliable catalyst toward racial equity and inclusion.
Building an Inclusive Economy
Author: Mary Thomas
Our economic landscape today looks very different than it did 25 years ago. This pattern of change will inevitably continue as technological advancements are rapidly introduced to the world.
To adapt to this new landscape, foundations must be willing to shift and evolve with the changing communities we serve. Seventy-five years ago, our founder— Walter Scott Montgomery—had a vision of introducing community philanthropy to Spartanburg County to meet the needs of the entire area. His vision began with a $10,000 investment that has evolved into a $213 million philanthropic organization that is continuously working to improve the lives of Spartanburg County residents by promoting philanthropy, encouraging local engagement, and responding to community needs.
A great thought leader in our community, Roger Milliken, lived by this motto, “Innovate or die.” Community institutions would do well to live by those words to ensure that our organizations continue to think ahead and maximize community impact by deploying innovative solutions to the issues facing our region. The success that the Spartanburg County Foundation has seen over the years is partly because of its ability to look ahead, remain flexible, and change when necessary to address local issues.