Archive for the ‘2009 Fall Conference’ Category

The Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference comes at a time of tremendous change worldwide. Shrinking economies, deficit reduction, looming government shutdowns, international disasters, citizen uprisings—it almost sounds like something of legend.

Hundreds of the nation’s top innovators, philanthropic leaders, and policymakers will gather in Charlotte from September 13-15 for the 2010 Fall Conference for Community Foundations. We’ve assembled an impressive team of bloggers who will share their perspectives on the proceedings and foster a national dialogue about the increasingly important role of community foundations in [...]

[Editor's Note: We asked contributors for a final, reflective blog entry from the San Antonio conference. Here's what Hillary had to say.]
The first day and a half of the Fall Conference focused purely on the power of community foundation’s to convene and partner with the necessary players to create community change. At some points throughout [...]

[Editor's Note: We asked contributors for a final, reflective blog entry from the San Antonio conference. Here's what Leslie had to say.]
In reflecting on last week’s conference, I kept coming back to the same thought. Those few days in San Antonio felt so different. At first I couldn’t pinpoint why. Yes, times are certainly different [...]

[Editor's Note: We asked contributors for a final, reflective blog entry from the San Antonio conference. Here's what Nina had to say.]
One striking difference between this conference and previous ones is the public officials who came to participate in deep and meaningful ways. Instead of posing for photographs and leaving, mayors and lieutenant governors stayed [...]

On Tuesday afternoon of the Fall Conference, we had a stimulating session exploring the possibilities of evaluation for community foundations (CF). It was intriguing to consider the number of stakeholders (trustees, staff members, donors, grantees, major partners, community members) in evaluation, and the kinds of questions they would ask and the answers they would want [...]

At the lunch plenary on Monday, Community Information in Today’s Technology World, we heard a story about a homeless man who knows of a computer where he blogs about resources for homeless people. Remarkable, yes. 
At the lunch we heard about the great concern of the digital divide between those with Internet access and those without. [...]

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 [...]

The economic decline packed a double-whammy for community foundations: Assets are down and community needs are up. But, as always, community foundations stepped up to the plate to address burgeoning needs.
Community foundations have their organizational finger on the pulse of the community. They are nimble and know what to do to respond. They embarked on [...]

At a panel Tuesday afternoon, the Council’s counsel and outside counsel discussed the contours of the IRS’ current and expected audits of community foundations.

Christine Kosmos, director of the Division of State and Local Readiness, at the CDC in Atlanta, joined conference attendees via telephone at the beginning of Tuesday’s lunch plenary to bring us up to date on the H1N1 virus. She reminded us that in a pandemic, everyone is susceptible. What is interesting, however, is that the [...]

One of many perks at all of the COF Fall Conferences and should not be missed this year either is the Film and Video Festival. Showing throughout the day are documentaries and films funded by foundations. These inspiring films are always a reminder of why we do the work we do and try to impact [...]

Kevin Murphy, president of the Berks County Community Foundation, kicked off today’s lunch plenary on The Emerging Green City with a humorous story about the plans for Reading, Pennsylvania’s first “green” building a few years ago. Seems that some folks actually thought the building was supposed to be the color green.

Just finished a mashup workshop, where discussion about Increasing College Attainment for Community Success was combined with a session on The Sticky City: Creating Places Where Talent Stays. A cast of eight or nine presenters so a lot of information to digest, but lots of good nuggets.

It takes a village…yet again, this was eminently clear in the Education Plenary discussion Tuesday morning with the San Antonio school superintendent, the Chicago and Washington, DC community foundation CEO’s, and the CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, founded by General Colin Powell. What a terrific and honest conversation on education reform.

On May 9th Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a letter to all federal government agencies instructing staff to construct their 2011 budgets with a focus on place-based change.

Developed in the spirit of accountability, transparency and continuous self improvement, and updated to meet the evolving realities of community foundations, National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations are evidence that as a community foundations, we are committed to excellence for our communities and our donors.

The energy from the opening plenary carried into the session on Responding to the Economic Crisis: How Cities and Philanthropy Are Creating Jobs and Putting People Back to Work. The stellar panel included an economist, a city councilman, a community foundation CEO, a national foundation program director, and the head of a state department of labor [...]

The conference is buzzing with excitement about the casual familiarity with which federal and state officials alike refer to our work and the results we’re achieving. But Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities, gave voice to a concern that many of us are all too familiar with. Elected officials come and go.

I have heard a lot of sobering talk about the economy and how our communities are not going to “recover” from the recession. This is not your father’s “recovery.” Communities will need to “re-invent” themselves. Many of the local and global economic fundamentals have changed, from housing, to the auto industry to energy. This will [...]

Who would have ever thought that the most difficult information to find is homegrown. It seems almost intuitive that local information should be the easiest to come by. It’s not and it is critical to civic engagement and dialogue. Without solid local information, we are disconnected from important issues that affect quality of life.

One bold move forward in philanthropy is the step a few foundations have taken to lead, or at least convene, a conversation about regional planning for our cities, which includes the latest in affordable, healthy living design.
George McCarthy of the Ford Foundation moderated a panel–Rethinking Urban Land Use: How Cities and Philanthropy are Reimagining the Urban Landscape [...]

When community foundations worked with Harvard’s Dr. Robert Putnam a decade ago to launch the largest-ever survey of community social capital, he voiced a memorable regret.
“I worry,” he speculated, “that we will be documenting a decline in traditional groups and organizations just as a revolution in interpersonal connection emerges on the Internet.” Spot on, Dr. [...]

Wow, things really got off to an exciting start this morning with the opening plenary, which focused on philanthropy’s role in creating transformative change–the theme for this conference. We were inspired by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro who shared with us how America’s seventh largest city has weathered the recession (very well according to a [...]

The digital divide or how will we get the community foundation word out to everyone (donors, potential donors)? Here are some questions to ask about your community.
1. Do you know how information gets communicated in your community?
2. How solvent is your local newspaper or radio station?

In celebrating San Antonio’s (relative) resilience in weathering the recent economic storm, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro cited, among other factors, the high quality of the region’s work force. The education and training that produced that result didn’t happen overnight. It’s the product of a long-term investment that began years ago.

Note to our readers: Two staff members from the Council’s Legal and Public Policy Department , Janne Gallagher, vice president and general counsel, and Dan Rader, an attorney and director, presented the Advanced Legal Seminar. They focused the first part of their discussion on investments, and the lessons we can all learn about investment management in the wake of [...]

I was able to attend a site visit to The Warrior Family Center today, a one-of-a-kind facility that is located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The facility is a $5 million-plus project that was raised by all private philanthropic dollars. It offers services to wounded warriors and their families.
Besides the amazing facility and [...]


In: 2009 Fall Conference

5 Oct 2009

After many years of waiting, public policy is now a big deal for the Council on Foundations. The 2009 Fall Conference for Community Foundation is a fine example of how far public policy has come. Now for the “but” question.

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!”

Back in June, I wrote a piece for the Council’s e-journal, Thought > Action > Impact, about some considerations that should go into deciding whether partnering with the government makes sense for your foundation. (Also see Jennifer Leonard’s post “Eyes Wide Open” for more on this topic.) So I was particularly interested when Douglas Kridler, [...]

It was very refreshing to hear Ed DeSeve, President Obama’s senior advisor for the Recovery Act Implementation, talk about the practical side of spending $750 billion. This is not going to easy. He spoke in frank and honest terms about the need for speed, transparency and effectiveness. He stressed that “recovery is all local”–a call [...]

In these unprecedented economic times, community foundations are facing decisions critical to the survival of their organizations while balancing the needs of the communities they serve. Are there innovative business models, collaborative partnerships, crisis management skills, and/or other creative opportunities that will help community foundations and their boards adapt in the aftermath of the financial [...]

Ed DeSeve, senior advisor on the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, spoke Sunday afternoon and provided a roadmap for engaging with the government on the stimulus package. And while the details are useful, his overall theme is more important–the work of the recovery act, he emphasized, is a partnership, involving federal, state, and local government, and [...]

Some wonder whether the model of foundations proving that ideas work and the government taking them to scale is a thing of the past. Ed DeSeve made it pretty clear that at least he still believes the model has viability. So too did HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Both praised foundations for their independence and ability to prove that [...]

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan shared the Obama Administration’s vision and his design of HUD strategies, including the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI).

How often do any of us in philanthropy hear someone say that they do not need our “money”? Even if it has happened to us, how often can we say that we believed the person when it was said? As the federal overseer of nearly $800 billion of ARRA stimulus resources, Ed DeSeve from the White [...]

The 2009 Fall Conference for Community Foundations is all about partnerships and the first day definitely showcased the transformative change these partnerships can create. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan opened the conference by commending the tremendous outpouring of collaboration between the public and philanthropic sectors. He went on to recognize community foundations for their innovation and leadership [...]

In his book, Tribes, bestselling author, speaker, and entrepreneur Seth Godin argues that lasting and substantive change begins with a group of people connected to each other, to a leader, and to an idea. A close look at the most successful movements of our time validates this notion.
In philanthropy, community foundations are uniquely qualified to own [...]

It’s a smaller than usual gathering of community foundation leaders here in San Antonio, but the spirit remains the same. All of us are here because we believe in the work that we do and we thirst for new ideas to help us along the way. It doesn’t matter what size of a foundation we hail from, [...]

For 30 plus years, a sure laugh-line in the national discourse has been, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Over the past year, though, there’s been a renewed sense that government does have an important role to play. At the same time, the town halls furor this summer has shown us that the [...]

A topic on my mind as we prepare to start the conference. How is our field thinking about the rural “philanthropy divide?” The Big Sky Institute for the Advancement of Nonprofits, based in Helena, has done great work identifying and sharing information about a huge divide in the amount of philanthropic money available between states. Rural states [...]

Public-private partnerships steal the show at this week’s Fall Conference in San Antonio, from the opening Sunday keynote with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to a peer-led public policy workshop on Wednesday.
At least four big-city mayors will speak. Joint initiatives in job development, land use, homelessness and foreclosure prevention lead off the breakouts.
Our community foundation has [...]

To what extent should a community foundation support local and regional government reform when the proposals for change are controversial and divisive?
Ineffective governments are crippling our big cities. Stories of fraud and corruption remain rampant, and proposals to change the way communities are governed are emerging in communities big and small.
Should a community foundation embrace [...]

I am looking forward to attending the COF’s Fall Conference this year. Recently, our community foundation (The Omaha Community Foundation) had the privilege of hearing Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of COF, speak at our annual board strategic planning retreat. The question at hand was, “How do we become a community leader?”

I am traveling to the Council on Foundations conference in San Antonio, Texas with Maslah Farah, a Somalian immigrant who is the newly hired program manager of a resident-led community foundation in southeastern San Diego, the Neighborhood Unity Foundation.
We both work in a community rich in cultural diversity where the language of philanthropy is considered [...]

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.


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