Archive for the ‘2011 Annual Conference’ Category

Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else!” Fortunately, CF Insights offers tremendous benchmarking tools to help community foundations develop individualized peer groups and collectively analyze trends across our field—and figure out our destination in the process.

At the Annual Meeting of Members the Council membership duly elected new and returning board members for the Class of 2014. I readily admit it: I’m a governance geek. I love reading about such topics as board size and composition, committee structures, board versus management roles, and board development.
It’s actually also what I do at [...]

Dan Pallotta, bestselling author of “Uncharitable” and founder of the AIDSRide and 3-Day breast-cancer walk, tells 1,000 foundation representatives that nonprofits should “step boldly” into radically new ways to scale their impact.
His first time to address a large group of philanthropists, Dan Pallotta challenges 1,000 members of the Council on Foundations gathered in Philadelphia this [...]

Interest in global philanthropy is on the rise and many individuals, corporations, foundations and nonprofits are looking at the opportunities for developing their presence in China. In the “Philanthropy in China” session at the Council on Foundation’s annual conference in Philadelphia, we looked at the growth of grassroots groups and explored some of the challenges [...]

Speaking about race is uncomfortable and perplexing for many people inside philanthropy. Lori Villarosa of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity designed a workshop during the Council’s annual conference that contained more information and more depth than anyone might have expected and got at issues that few in philanthropic gatherings ever get close to. [...]

As strategy consultants to funders and nonprofits, at TCC Group we’ve increasingly seen our funder clients struggle with how directive to be in their approach to strategy, and observed a growing backlash in the philanthropic and mainstream presses about “strategic giving.” The timeliness of this issue was evident as an overflow crowd crammed into a [...]

The Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference ended with a spirited and thought-provoking debate during the final session that put “philanthropy on trial.” Charged with not fulfilling its mission, philanthropy was impelled to defend how effectively it has advanced the common good.

This year’s Council on Foundations Conference ended with a unique session that placed the entire field of philanthropy on trial. The charge: Philanthropy is not fulfilling its mission of advancing the common good. Gara LaMarche, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, represented the prosecution, and Ralph R. Smith, executive vice president of The Annie [...]

It is striking how often I hear from foundation and nonprofit professionals that they are interested in engaging Next Gen leaders (typically meaning people ages 18-40) but can’t find anyone interested in participating. From where I sit, the notion that Next Gen representatives are not engaging because of lack of interest is mind boggling. Every [...]

“Philanthropy on Trial” ended with a hung jury. The sector was charged with not living up to its mission to advance the common good, and, while ten jurors were ready to take away philanthropy’s tax-exempt status—the penalty if convicted—two jurors held out. It was marvelously entertaining: the Law and Order music, the extraordinarily witty and [...]

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
At this morning’s breakfast plenary on the closing day of the 2011 Annual Conference, Ambassador James Joseph reminded me of this statement from [...]

With 15,000 journalism jobs cut in recent years, hurting the in-depth local news that helps sustain our democracy, more funders are making journalism and media grants. And many of them attended a Monday morning session at the Council on Foundations conference in Philadelphia for a robust discussion on the opportunities and challenges of media grantmaking. [...]

It has been great to engage in all the global programming underway at the Council’s annual conference. Meeting funders who are engaged in philanthropy from all parts of the world is inspiring and reinforces the Environmental Grantmakers Association’s (EGA) commitment to increasing its global focus and vision.

Can foundations end homelessness? The affinity group Funders Together to End Homelessness believes that the problem of chronic homelessness can be solved, if done the right way, according to Executive Director Anne Miskey. In the midst of all of the Council on Foundations workshops, we were fortunate to find a moment to have a conversation [...]

Question: What happens when 20 foundation CEOs land in a closed-door session conducive to candid conversation?
Answer: You can’t design a session long enough.

In a panel on looking at foundation roles over the long run, Gerry Salole of the European Foundation Centre warned of what many philanthropists innately assume. “The real problem,” he said, “is that the solutions are not as simple as people like to think they are…the rhetoric from social engineers is unsatisfying…things are measured in [...]

More than 75 people met Sunday during the Council’s annual conference to discuss the intersection of strategy and evaluation. When asked, the majority stated that they engage in evaluation and strategic learning through various methods, including grantee-level interim/final reports and initiative-level evaluations. The group also stated that they use evaluation findings to inform their strategies. [...]

Arianna Huffington can tell a story, but the important message she had for the foundation sector was about the role of the media in social change.
While many people are concerned about the future of newspapers due to competition from the Internet and social media, Huffington looks at social media as an instrument for [...]

I touch down in Philadelphia in about 30 minutes and am looking forward to exploring this historic and world-class cultural city before the conference kicks off with the opening luncheon plenary on Sunday. I suppose it’s a bit odd for me to blog about a conference that hasn’t even started yet, but I was hoping [...]

The cycle of violence in the Israeli conflict goes something like this: Violence leads to trauma, trauma leads to revenge, and revenge leads to violence. In adolescent girls, these feelings are most acute and result in action. In very young children where there is no difference in the effects of witnessing or experiencing violence, the [...]

Mission-driven investing is not a single product or strategy. It is a body of work that many foundations are investigating as a means of increasing their impact in the field. It is the pursuit of both financial and social returns. Historically grounded in the use of negative screens, the field has shifted to be proactive [...]

Having Clair Gaudiani, Tony Proscio, and Dan Pallotta open the Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference gave the program a particular flair. While Proscio is known as a fabulous writer on and for philanthropy, reflecting his long history as a top-notch journalist at the Miami Herald, Pallotta and Gaudiani are flashpoints in philanthropy and in [...]

Fifty philanthropy and nonprofit colleagues joined four panelists in discussing how philanthropic mistakes can be used to advance innovation, learning, transparency, and results. In my role as vice president of the Center for Family Economic Success and Community Change at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, I moderated the panel and gave an overview of my [...]

As the 2011 Annual Conference draws near, we look forward to an opportunity to meet with our partners and colleagues from both philanthropy and government to explore new and continuing opportunities for collaboration. Our Common Spaces session on Sunday, “Philanthropy & Government: Partners for Positive Impact in Homes and Communities” will look to kick-start this [...]

At the Funders’ Network, we believe shelter should transcend structure and provide a home that offers good life chances and prosperity. We strive for this opportunity to be made available to everyone. Unfortunately, all too often, where people live limits their opportunities and diminishes their prosperity. Generations of chronic disinvestment in low-income communities have [...]

Hundreds of the nation’s top innovators, philanthropic leaders, and policy-makers will gather in Philadelphia, April 10-12 for the Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference. We’ve assembled an impressive team of bloggers who will share their perspectives on the proceedings and foster a national dialogue about how grantmakers are working to advance collaborative, innovative solutions to [...]

After Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake last year in Haiti, and the recent disasters in Japan, the public donated record amounts of money. Hundreds, if not thousands, of foundations made emergency grants to disaster relief and recovery efforts. However, despite billions of dollars raised and the time elapsed since each of the respective disasters, many survivors [...]

Let’s face it: our institutions work at their finest when we embrace collaboration and open communication. Mentoring, on the other hand, too often reflects a hierarchical relationship in which an experienced leader preaches, while the mentee takes his word at gospel.
But millenials are different from the young professionals of yesteryear. While the lines between our [...]

One of the things I’m working on at Kaiser Permanente ( is benchmarking my company’s philanthropic program against leading, well-managed, “best in class” foundations and corporate giving programs. We started the process with peers who are mostly from large corporations and independent foundations, and we’d like to broaden the circle.

Most U.S.-based foundations have never made a grant beyond the borders of the United States. IRS regulations, selecting good partners, and monitoring and evaluation may all seem challenging. But it’s actually quite feasible, and leads to impressive results. Four experienced foundations are coming together for a “Common Spaces” session on April 11 at the Council [...]

As I begin to reflect on this year’s conference theme, “Windows,” a metaphor for encouraging a spirit of transparency, honesty, openness and candor, I am moved to also reflect a bit about the past year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of theories of change in our work. As we in [...]

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.

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.


David P. Janes
Omar Passons
Holly Welch Stubbing
Daria Teutonico
Lori Bertman
Rene Cabral-Daniels
Jessica Janssen
Mafruza Khan
Chris Pinney
Kate Schrauth
Kate Nielsen
Brooke Ramsey
Daniel Olias Silverman
Kari Jackson
Jailan Adly
Brenda Chumley
Shelton Roulhac
Kari Dunn Saratovsky
Richard Sussman
Vincent Robinson
Linda Wood
Kate Levin Markel
Hallie Preskill Mayur Patel and Charles Gasper
Susan Patterson and Bahia Ramos Synnott
Sue Bornick
Steve Delfin
Eva Nico and Rebecca Graves
Diana Doyle
Michelle Bermudez
Heather Lord
Marika Lynch
Jeff Hoffman
Mukul Verma
Kevin R. Webb
Mindie Reule
Lucas Orwig
Heidi Sytsema
Helen Ishii
Sidney R. Hargro
Jim Harrell
John Colgan
Christine Zachai
Dori Kreiger
Aimee Guidera
Malika Harrison
Elizabeth Ramirez
Robert Giloth
Rick Mappin
Dien S. Yuen
Darryl Lester