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Earlier this year, Americans for Community Development held its inaugural conference, “L3C A to Z,” in Evanston, Ill., to educate nonprofits on Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies (L3Cs) and the advantages they provide for those pursuing program-related investments (PRIs). At the opening plenary, I served on a panel, along with Robert Lang and Max Martin, on [...]

As I prepare to conclude my leadership at the Council on Foundations, I’ve found myself looking back at my tenure. My goal is to get some sense of how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.
In August 2007 we gathered for the Council’s first Rural Philanthropy Conference in Missoula, Mont. This was [...]

As I recently wrote in a guest column in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, timing is everything. Right now, philanthropy is in danger of missing out on a timing opportunity in rural America, where the peak transfer of wealth will occur in the coming years. If we, as the philanthropic sector, sit idly by and do [...]

As we witness the recent devastation in Alabama and throughout the south, our hearts want to reach out to those in need of help. The challenge is in determining how best we can help build their individual and collective futures.
Our response can be described in three ways: rescue, relief, and rebuilding. The first [...]

(Steve Gunderson recently issued a message to the sector about the importance of telling philanthropy’s story in order to effectively advance its mission. Below are excerpts from that message.)
At a time of debt and deficit reduction at the local, state, and federal levels, when the threats to our sector and the communities we serve [...]

Colleagues, in a few weeks the Council and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers will be hosting the ninth annual Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) conference.
What sets this year’s event apart from years past, you ask? Well, for starters, we have more than 100 new members of Congress who are probably not familiar with [...]

During a meeting with philanthropic leaders at Philanthropy Northwest’s offices in Seattle right after the mid-term elections, one colleague asked me what impact I thought the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives would have on our sector.
I suggested that something far bigger than the partisan make-up of the Congress (and state legislatures) would [...]

After 22 years in government, I’m well aware that the day after an election is a time of instant analysis and speculation. As president of the Council, some things remain the same. Clearly, this is a “change election,” but it is not the first. Actually, it’s the third in a row! Regardless of the [...]

*First published in the Alliance Magazine blog -
I doubt when the European Foundation Center (EFC) organized this conference and designed the “Foundation Week” session titled “Walking you through the EU maze” they had any idea of what was to come. But, on Wednesday morning Janis Emmanouilidis of the European Policy Center began a most [...]

Inspiring. That’s the word that I heard over and over again about Monday’s annual conference plenary sessions with former Vice President Al Gore and Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. They urged us to use philanthropy’s innovation to address [...]

Recently, I blogged about Jeff Jarvis’ book, “What Would Google Do?” as it relates to our work at the Council. Jarvis stresses the power of networks and the importance of sharing information quickly. He points to Internet powerhouses like Facebook and Amazon that successfully connect people to one another, allowing them to share needs, knowledge, [...]

About two years ago, a foundation leader paid us—the Council—a compliment when he said, “This is not your Grandfather’s Council on Foundations.” The comment was meant to honor the emerging changes at the Council, as we sought to provide both sector-specific membership services and sector-wide philanthropic leadership.
Recently I realized, it’s not even my generation’s philanthropy!
At [...]

Philanthropy is different than charity. Traditionally, philanthropy reflects long-term strategic investments in creating real change. But in times of national and/or natural disaster, both respond in short-term ways that can be most helpful.
The recent devastation in Haiti reflects the kind of disasters that call philanthropy to action. We can and should do our part in [...]

Happy New Year! While the holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, I suspect we all take a few moments to reflect upon the past year and anticipate the one ahead.
Before departing for the holidays, every employee at the Council and every member of our Board of Directors received a copy of [...]

This is a big week for the Council on Foundations and philanthropy.
The Council is celebrating its 60th Anniversary—60 years of service and leadership to philanthropy and the communities we serve. (As I write this entry, I am on my way to Chicago for a series of meetings and events, including one to celebrate the Council’s [...]

This one’s personal.
I just finished participating in the Council’s leadership convening on diversity and inclusion in philanthropy, which brought together CEOs, trustees, executive search consultants, HR officers, and Council members.
The conversation was anchored by a report the Council released today—Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership 2009 Baseline Report, examining the characteristics of foundation and grantmaking executives [...]

Tuesday morning at the conference and our focus switched to education reform. Elizabeth Garza, Superintendent of the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, shared the challenges of urban education in today’s inner city. 

On Monday morning I shared with you a few highlights from San Antonio. By now you know that I never got to a comment on Tuesday. So, happy Wednesday!
The first full day of the conference moved from the engagement of our government leaders on Sunday (HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Recovery Act Implementation Advisor Ed [...]

I’m sitting at my computer before the day begins. An email from Council board members Diane Kaplan (Rasmuson Foundation) and Richard Woo (The Russell Family Foundation) reminded me that many of you might also like to know how things are going here in San Antonio.
We started out the fall conference with a “bang!”

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


Roger Doughty
Joshua Gibb
Mary McClymont
Nelli Garton
Josephine Sinclair
Danielle Williams
Amy Philips Haller
Andrea Lubov
Dan Rader
Roxanne Joffe
Dien S. Yuen
Mary Topliff
Lisa Philp
Trista Harris
Peter Brach
Mayur Patel
Jane Holliday Wilson
Jessica del Rosario
Laura Otting
Chet Tchozewski
Carl Little
Alexis Raymond
Jack A. Calhoun
Jessica Janssen
Adrienne Mansanares
John Porter
Sheri Booms Holm
Zac Russell
Suzanne Stringfield
Josephine Ramirez
Rob Buchanan
Laura Meyer
Andrew Schulz
Sue Santa
Carrie Varoquiers
Josh Viertel
Brad Phillips
John Harvey
Robert Weaver
Jenny Hodgson
Ken Sternad
Katie Loovis
Marika Lynch
Denise Spencer
Aleesha Towns-Bain
Timothy P. Silard
Rachel Leon
Jillian C. Vukusich
Ian Dutton