Category Archives: Community foundation

Are You Selling Yourself Short?

When you think about your work in philanthropy, are you selling yourself short? If so, you could be shortchanging your foundation’s effectiveness – and therefore its mission – as well. Some of the most sincere people I know in philanthropy bring a very astute sense of servant leadership to their work. They always put the needs of others first and keep themselves humbly out of the spotlight. It’s an admirable mindset, but it also can be a symptom of approaching philanthropy from a poverty mentality rather than one of abundance. As I’ve written before, foundations with a poverty mentality believe that investing in their own infrastructure or capacity somehow robs those they serve. Foundations with an abundance mentality realize that … Continue reading Are You Selling Yourself Short?

read more >

12 Tools to Achieve Big Impact

Often in the world of philanthropy, the problems we wish to address seem overwhelmingly large and complex. And if you’re a small foundation, the scant assets you have to wage against the world of need can seem almost pointless. But as with any complex problem, the key is to break it down and examine its parts to discover that pivotal point where your action can begin to fuel a solution. One way to achieve big impact is by engaging in research and development (R&D) philanthropy. R&D philanthropy is planned, creative work aimed at discovering new knowledge or developing new and significantly improved goods and services to address an identified need. The ways in which foundations can engage in R&D philanthropy … Continue reading 12 Tools to Achieve Big Impact

read more >

Don’t Let It Go To Your Head – A Caution for Board Members

Many quip that once you work for or serve on a foundation board, you never have to pay for lunch and everyone laughs at your jokes. While this observation is amusing, it is true that a very real power dynamic that exists between a foundation and the nonprofit community it serves. Nowhere is this power dynamic more apparent — and more dangerous — than between a board member and his or her community. Being in a position of power means that people are inclined to be more deferential to your opinion, even if they disagree. As a board, you must be your own critical thought partner and examine ideas — especially your own — from every angle. You must also … Continue reading Don’t Let It Go To Your Head – A Caution for Board Members

read more >

Get Back Out There!

I hope you’ve had a great summer. Vacations, plenty of pool time, a little rest and relaxation — and lots of playing outside. Now it’s time to hunker down and get back in that office to get things done, right? Wrong. In my opinion, one of the last places a grantmaker should be is in the office. As foundation staff and trustees, we want to see solutions to community problems. There’s no way to create those solutions without getting out there and forging multiple connections. And there are few people better suited to building those connections than those of us who work in the philanthropic world. Building connections isn’t something you can do behind a desk. You need to get … Continue reading Get Back Out There!

read more >

10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

The philanthropic sector has seen steady growth over the past decade, and while some new foundation boards may be made up of veteran philanthropists, I’ll wager that many of those entrusted are taking on the job for the first time. It’s a big responsibility, and many of the early choices made by a new board can determine whether the new foundation will move forward smoothly and effectively or become mired in a culture or in policies that stifle effectiveness. I was recently invited to speak with a new health legacy foundation board and shared with them 10 mistakes that new foundation boards often make, and how to avoid them. Here are the first five (I’ll cover the other five next … Continue reading 10 Mistakes New Foundation Boards Make, and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

read more >

Do Your Homework

How one foundation used research to help support young, black men In the wake of substantial public funding cuts across the board, many foundations are struggling to find the most meaningful ways to step up and strategically fill the void. Let’s not kid ourselves: there is no way for private philanthropy to close that public funding gap. The struggle for foundations, then, is how to achieve the most impact for the investments they can make, and choosing meaningful areas in which to invest. In that regard, it pays to do your homework by conducting a little research to find the intersections between public cuts and public needs. For example, take a look at the new BLOOM Initiative launched earlier this … Continue reading Do Your Homework

read more >

Gratitude and Wonder in Philly

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Rob Collier, CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations. by Rob Collier WOW, starting a Monday morning with Arianna Huffington was the perfect antidote for this sleepy guy from Michigan! She got my attention by quoting Homer right away in reminding me that a sense of wonder and a sense of gratitude characterizes all of us in this field as we strive to make a difference. She shared the importance of work at the community level and decried the sense of urgency missing at the national level. While familiar with the Knight Foundation’s Community Media Initiative with community … Continue reading Gratitude and Wonder in Philly

read more >

Blog Team Coverage of the Fall Conference for Community Foundations

Philanthropy411 recently covered the Fall Conference for Community Foundations with the help of a blog team. This is a list of all posts published for this event. You can also view the Council on Foundation’s blog team coverage on their blog Re: Philanthropy. 1. Announcing Blog Team for Community Foundations Conference By: Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting; Twitter: @philanthropy411 2. Anticipation by Brian Frederick, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County 3. Sleepless in Charlotte! by Diana Sieger, President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Twitter: @GRCommFound 4. A Bird’s Eye View by Jillian Vukusich Director of Community Investments, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties; Twitter: @JCVukusich 5. Thoughts on Community Foundations … Continue reading Blog Team Coverage of the Fall Conference for Community Foundations

read more >

Outcome-Based Evaluation in Community Foundations

Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Fall Conference for Community Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Lisa Bottoms Program Director for Human Services and Child and Youth Development, The Cleveland Foundation By:  Lisa Bottoms I attended a session at the Fall Community Foundations conference called “Making It Count: Incorporating an Outcomes-Based Grant Approach,” given by Hal Williams, Senior Fellow at The Rensselaerville Institute.  Mr. Williams asked us funders the difference between the following words:  benchmarks, indicators, goals, objectives, outcomes, results and impact.  So many words are used differently based on the many outcome frameworks and are often used in grant reporting documents. Because of this, many non-profits approach outcome frameworks as a … Continue reading Outcome-Based Evaluation in Community Foundations

read more >

Your Tools May Not Be What You Think…Get Out of Your Way!

Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Fall Conference for Community Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Jillian Vukusich, Director of Community Investments, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties.  Follow Jillian on Twitter: @JCVukusich. By:  Jillian Vukusich Tuesday night I had the pleasure of visiting the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center to catch a show with my cousin. My thought was that the show, Mary Poppins,  would be a bit of an escape from loaded discussions and engaged interaction. Don’t get me wrong—this has been an incredibly energizing conference. However, I was thinking a little “spoonful of sugar” would provide some respite. Well, I was wrong, in a good way. … Continue reading Your Tools May Not Be What You Think…Get Out of Your Way!

read more >