Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

In class, I learned about motivating employees and the value of a learning organization, and started thinking about tools I could use to encourage a learning culture. Here are a few ideas I came up with that you might be interested in utilizing in your own organization.
1. Postcards. I turned a postcard into a tool [...]

The study and practice of leadership has been on my mind for the past several months. Since July, I’ve been fortunate to participate in the Career Pathways Program through the Council on Foundations.
It’s a leadership program that has been designed to prepare candidates to compete for and earn positions as philanthropic leaders. The [...]

I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting. After learning about issues several were facing that ended up complicating work with grantees, I immediately suggested several free technology tools that could streamline their current work.
Here are five tools that could help you connect better with [...]

For today’s post, we’ve asked two leaders to weigh in on topics of interest to young, growing community foundations. Their organizations—Kern Community Foundation and The Community Foundation of Mendocino County—participated in Community Foundations Initiative II, a multiyear initiative by The James Irvine Foundation to accelerate the growth and leadership of a group of emerging community [...]

While I have enjoyed making the contacts and hanging out in the CEO track sessions, I decided to session hop on Monday afternoon.
I found, that while well meaning, the CEO air was a tad rarefied and discussion aimed high-brow as my colleagues discussed high-impact investments and donor embeddedness with a hint of detachment. Not a [...]

After my time at the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) conference this past week, I walked away with a lot of reflection points. What struck me most about the conversations I experienced, both during the sessions and with colleagues, was that they were not just about vision, change, and success in philanthropy. They also were [...]

The beginning of opening session is just a few short minutes away. I arrive early to find a seat while trying to avoid the strobe light clearly flashing above my head. As I loiter in the lobby, here are some general impressions thus far.
I will not get to every session I want to hit, and [...]

Each one of us has 86,400 seconds per day to live, work, love, play and/or fritter away. Indeed time is the nonrenewable resource. Threaded through the last weeks, I have reached out to colleagues in the foundation sector to be sure that my time at the Council of Foundations Annual Conference is leveraged to build [...]

The Council on Foundations Annual Conference brings together grantmakers from all over the world to learn from each other and discuss best practices and critical issues in philanthropy. There is something for everyone at this conference, and the energy of all of us together is powerful and inspiring. This week, more than1,200 of us are in [...]

The Council on Foundations (COF) recently released the 2011 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report. The sample includes 910 total foundations of which 544 are COF members. As Rick Cohen notes on his piece about the survey, the survey suffers from the limitations of self-reporting, as do most all of our [...]

At the Council on Foundations Global Grantmaking Institute (GGI), participants grappled with the fact that wicked problems do not have single-sourced solutions, nor is there a clearly demarcated path leading to success in overcoming these problems. Our esteemed faculty gently but ever so consistently prodded us to accept that despite our best intentions as grantmakers, [...]

At the Council on Foundations’ Global Grantmaking Institute (GGI) this week, participants are examining the essentials in the effective global grantmaker’s toolkit: our hearts, minds, stomachs, and ears.
First, let’s talk about the hearts and minds. Reflecting on the seeds of America’s fight for independence from England, John Adams wrote that the Revolution was born in [...]

I had the privilege this week to join my first Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference. It was a remarkable gathering of some 600 philanthropic leaders and advisers from across the U.S. and international Foundations. The program and various highlights are detailed on the conference website.
As a newcomer to the [...]

I had the pleasure of spending the past four days in Miami Beach at the Council on Foundations’ annual Family Philanthropy Conference.
There was alot to experience there, but I’d have to say that — as usual at these kind of gatherings — the highlight was spending time with my fellow attendees.
The group was a great [...]

“…outside resources will be much more effectively used if the local community is itself fully mobilized and invested, and if it can define the agendas for which additional resources must be obtained.”
-”Building Communities from the Inside Out,” John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, 1993.
I’ve been reflecting on how much my early training in community [...]

I’m always excited for the Family Philanthropy Conference. The plenaries feature dynamic speakers who often offer a philanthropic perspective that I hadn’t considered before. There are so many interesting sessions, and so many interesting ideas to take in. I try to attend a session about something I’d likely not be able to explore any place [...]

I was a member of the third class of diversity fellows. I value many things about the fellowship. My top two are the structured opportunities for reflection and learning and the access the fellowship provided to the philanthropic field overall, a tremendous support network, and numerous growth opportunities.
The reflection started during the fellowship application process. [...]

Prior to starting as a Proteus Fund Diversity Fellow, I spent five years in my hometown serving the city that provided me with the platform to become an educated professional of color. In returning to my hometown of New Bedford, Mass., to serve its youth, I saw that the promise of an excellent public school [...]

I entered the field of philanthropy through a theological framework. With idealism guiding my path, I started a journey in search of a meaningful and purposeful vocation. Because of my commitment to social justice, civic engagement, and community development, I enrolled in a dual-degree master’s program that combined urban policy and divinity. The program was [...]

I looked down at my phone as it began to ring and I screamed with frustration, “Seriously? Again?!? Don’t they realize that it is 3 p.m. on a Friday?” That was the tagline I was known all too well for when I did housing relocations for tenants. Housing inspectors would notoriously find a home to [...]

Four years ago, when I was a philanthropic adviser at a private bank, I spoke to The New York Times for an article on global giving. In my work with wealthy families in the United States and around the world, I was seeing a growing trend of cross-border giving. Part of this was related to [...]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) on September 23, 2011. This document is the long-awaited-and much-delayed-product of the Post-Katrina Emergency Relief Act, and it provides a sentinel opportunity for community and governmental stakeholders to re-evaluate their approach to disaster recovery.
The pace at which communities are experiencing significant disasters is [...]

The sights and sounds of San Francisco provide a perfect setting for community foundations to gather for the Council on Foundations fall conference that starts Monday. For one thing, it is a place of wonderful diversity, reminding us that each geographic area we serve is unique, but also part of a greater world. And the [...]

This will be my third Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations and every time I’m impressed and a little overwhelmed.
Each city offers an exciting venue for this event. In San Antonio, Texas, despite the oppressive heat, we enjoyed the opening reception at the beautiful and historic Alamo. Charlotte, N.C., opened the doors to [...]

Over the past month, I have reflected on the recent webinar, “Leadership and Professional Competencies for the Savvy CEO of the 21st Century.” I’ve also been reading Manning Marable’s excellent biography of Malcolm X, and thinking about the themes that Karen McNeil Miller, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and I touched on [...]

Who are those scary beings in the dark suits? They look like they are 12 years old. And why are they asking about the way we do things around here? Who are these bright, young things?
Don’t worry-we’re part of the millennial generation. We just graduated from some of the most prestigious universities in the country, [...]

You always start the year with great intentions: “This year, I’m going to prioritize professional development.” And then meetings and conference calls get scheduled and projects get started and, well, work happens. Come mid-year, you realize professional development is once again on the back burner-with the heat turned off.
Get it back to simmering with the [...]

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.


Zeke Spier
Ambrose Clancy
Kaberi Banerjee-Murthy
Caroline Roan and Atiya Weiss
Ronn Richard
Debra Rubino
Robert Smith
Susan McPherson
Torrey Van Antwerp DeKeyser
Phil Hall
Joanne Kelley
Chris Rurik
George Stevens
Jenn Hoos Rothberg
Sam Davis
Amanda Hsiung
Ashley Harper
Juanita T James
Elizabeth Ramirez
Oz Spies
Carmen Fields
Manikka L. Bowman
Jennifer Leonard
Racheal Stuart
Erica Ekwurzel
Evelyn Gibson
Susan Hoechstetter
Michelle Kalina
Danielle Williams
Regan Gruber Moffitt
Valerie Batts
Ruth Ann Norton
Rajasvini Bhansali
Jennifer Lentfer
Vincent Robinson
Andrew Ho
Linda Raybin
Daniel Kaufman
Bryan Del Rosario
Conaway B. Haskins III
Ben Francisco Maulbeck
Shanee Helfer
Omar Brownson
Mark Carpenter
David Colby
Sherry Ristau
Barbara Dyer
Stanley S. Litow
Neville Vakharia
Nicole Robinson