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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.


Helping the Formerly Incarcerated Integrate Into the Community – and Stay Out of Prison

Author: Tristi Charpentier

Aug12

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?

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51st Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Susan Taylor Batten

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Aug06

Amid a pandemic disproportionately affecting Black people and communities and ongoing calls to combat anti-Black racism, ABFE and its president and CEO, Susan Taylor Batten, have been leading the way in calling on philanthropy to take action in support of racial justice.

Soon after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers sparked protests around the globe, ABFE released a letter signed by Batten and more than 60 Black foundation CEOs that included 10 recommendations for philanthropy to follow in order to combat racism. 

“Our long-term goal is to free Black people from disparate treatment that result in the racial disparities we see in COVID-19, police brutality and on almost every indicator of well-being,” the letter stated. “We need deep, transformative institutional change in this country; foundations and donors that support Black communities, in addition to those from other sectors (government, business, etc.) must commit to and deploy an equity analysis to investments moving forward.”

Yet this letter is only the latest example of how, under Batten’s leadership, ABFE has been a prominent voice for change within the field. Even before Floyd’s death, Batten had directly tied the pandemic to America’s long, painful history of racism.

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Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

Tags: SECF Staff 
Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Stephen Sherman

Aug06

SECF’s online Research Library is regularly updated with the latest reports relevant to Southern philanthropy. SECF members can browse over 300 research reports, websites, case studies, and other resources that we’ve cultivated to help funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy. 

Below are some of the key findings and highlights of the newest additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen Sherman, SECF’s Director of Research and Data, at stephen@secf.org or (404) 524-0911.


Funder Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Center for Effective Philanthropy (2020)

CEP conducted a survey of nonprofit leaders in May 2020 to understand how nonprofits and the communities they serve have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, how funders have responded to the crisis, and what nonprofits will need most from funders going forward. Responses to the survey show that while the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the sector as a whole, the negative effects have been especially severe for nonprofits that provide direct services and for those that serve historically disadvantaged communities. In terms of financial impact, nonprofits that rely on foundation funding have experienced more stable funding than those that rely more on earned revenue or gifts from individual donors. Nonprofit respondents said that funders can be most helpful in the future by providing greater support, specifically unrestricted funds, and by being transparent about how the pandemic may impact future support. 


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Public Policy Update - August 2020

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Aug04

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.


Fate of Next COVID Relief Package Unclear 

As of this afternoon, the state of the next COVID-19 relief bill, including provisions affecting philanthropy and nonprofits, remained fluid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the $1 trillion HEALS Act last week. However, several Republican senators are opposed to key provisions of the bill. That, combined with the need to achieve 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, means McConnell has to negotiate not only with his own party, but also with Democrats, whose votes will be essential to passing any legislation. 

Pressure has been added by rising jobless claims and the expiration of both a federal eviction moratorium and enhanced unemployment assistance (UI), which was providing an extra $600 per week to those unemployed due to the pandemic. 

More PPP Loans Possible: As of today, the HEALS Act includes another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits. However, only organizations with fewer than 300 employees that can also show a 50 percent decline in revenue will be eligible for the next round. The proposal also includes liability protections for businesses, schools and nonprofits that reopen, a top priority for Republicans.

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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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51st Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Richard Rothstein

Category: Annual Meeting, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul16

Federal law has outlawed housing discrimination based on race since 1968, yet nearly all of America’s major population centers are still heavily segregated – why?

That question lies at the heart of Richard Rothstein’s work, particularly his book, The Color of Law, which was released to acclaim in 2017 and has recently surged on bestseller lists in the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd that have sparked a national conversation on racial justice.

Rothstein’s work is centered around debunking what he calls America’s “national myth”: the idea that ongoing segregation isn’t the fault of public policy, but rather other factors outside the control of government.

“It’s pervasive across the political spectrum. Liberals and conservatives hold it. Blacks and whites hold it,” Rothstein says. “The name of that myth is we have de facto segregation. Not something that was created by government like all the other segregations that we undid in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, but this is something that sort of just happened by accident.”

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Registration Now Open for SECF's 51st Annual Meeting!

Category: Annual Meeting, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul15


Are You Ready to Lead the Way?
Registration Now Open for SECF's 51st Annual Meeting

Today, more than any other time in recent memory, our communities, region and nation are calling out for leadership.

An ongoing, deadly pandemic has turned lives upside-down, devastated our economy and stretched many of the organizations philanthropy supports to the breaking point. A long overdue reckoning on racial justice has shown the work of undoing centuries of systemic racism can no longer wait.

We cannot meet in person, but we must come together however we can. The moment demands it. Philanthropy must lead the way – but how?

We will explore this question, and many more, at SECF’s 51st Annual Meeting: Leading the Way.

Join us November 11-13, 2020, for an online event that will bring Southern philanthropy together in new ways while delivering the powerful speakers and sessions that have made the Annual Meeting the region’s premier philanthropic event for over 50 years!

Highlights of this year’s agenda include:

Powerful Keynote Speakers

Dr. David Williams
Harvard professor and
health equity expert
Richard Rothstein
Author, The Color of Law
Susan Taylor Batten
President & CEO, ABFE


Diverse & Dynamic Sessions, Including:

Storytelling for
Social Change
Foundation
Life
Courage in
Practice
Giving Community
Voice to Grantmaking
Race, Place &
Systemic Inequities
Equitable
Evaluation

And more - View the Full Agenda!

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51st Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Dr. David Williams

Category: Annual Meeting, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul09

This is the first in a series of profiles of speakers at SECF's 51st Annual Meeting, an online event taking place November 11-13. Registration opens next week!

The two dominant stories of 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic and a national reckoning on racial justice sparked by the murder of George Floyd – will both be reflected throughout the 51st Annual Meeting, from the virtual keynote stage to several breakout sessions.

Both topics, and the intersection between them, are familiar to this year’s Opening Keynote speaker, Dr. David Williams.

Williams, a professor of public health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is one of the world’s leading experts on the social determinants of health, a list that includes socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement. 

Through his research, Williams has found that experiencing racism itself leads to negative health consequences – for example, Blacks with college degrees have a lower life expectancy than whites who only have a high school diploma.

“When I started my career, many people believed that it was simply about racial differences in income and education,” Williams said in his TedMed talk, How Racism Makes Us Sick. “I discovered that while economic status matters to health, there is more to the story.”

Central to Williams’ research has been his work to quantify racism – not only major experiences like unfairly losing a job or being wrongly stopped by the police, but also everyday indignities that, over time, have real health consequences. The Everyday Discrimination Scale he devised in 1997 to measure experiences like these is still used today.

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New Titles Available at SECF's Lending Library!

Category: Member Benefits, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul09


SECF’s Lending Library allows SECF members to borrow e-books and audiobooks on a variety of topics relevant to Southern philanthropy. Like any library, we’re constantly updating our offerings with new titles that reflect emerging trends and topics in the news.

We’ve recently added several new titles focused on systemic racism and other topics. We’ve highlighted a few below, and a list of all new titles is at the end of this post.

Visit our Lending Library information page to learn more and to sign up for an account!

 

How to Be an Antiracist
By Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At it's core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their posionous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.


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Taking an Objective Look at Homelessness in Florida

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Katie Ensign and Kathleen Shaw

Jul08

The issues surrounding homelessness, and what we as funders need to consider, were brought into sharp relief this week with the release of Snapshot: A High-Level Review of the Regional Approach to Homelessness in Jacksonville, FL

This report, commissioned by a collaboration of funders including the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, the United Way of Northeast Florida, and the Henri Landwirth Family Advised Fund, outlined the progress made and the opportunities ahead for supporting Jacksonville’s homeless population. 

We learned that while Jacksonville has experienced a 32 percent decrease in the overall homeless population (compared to the national reduction average of 10 percent during the same period), there are notable areas for improvement, including a troubling 20 percent increase in unsheltered, single adults in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is a very collaborative community and, as funders, we have a strong history of working together to address community issues. We were each supporting homelessness with our own grantmaking, and even serving on some of the same community committees – and we have seen some progress in our community with specific populations such as veterans and homeless families. But, as we thought collectively with one another and the providers in our community about the best approach to deepening our commitment to support this area, we weren’t convinced we had the right information to make the best decisions regarding a more comprehensive plan to move forward. 

There were conflicting opinions regarding a best practice approach, and we wanted to understand more about positive outcomes in other communities. So, we decided to engage an outside, objective expert to help us review our work and provide advice on the best approach moving forward. 

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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.