- Jan. 22 – Erika is co-facilitating a Racial Equity Retreat for Confluence Philanthropy in California
- Feb. 28 – Tony is facilitating the Building Blocks for Successful Family Philanthropy webinar for the National Center for Family Philanthropy
- Mar. 12-14 – Tony is facilitating sessions on place-based impact investing and managing family dynamics for the 2019 Colorado Impact Days
- Mar. 22-26 – Erika is speaking at the 2019 Mission Investing Institute in New York
The EAC team is helping foundations and donors learn effective philanthropy in the following venues this quarter:
Tools and Frameworks
Dropbox Folder of Resources
Align, Adapt, Aspire: Ten Years of Community Foundation Business Model Evolution – FSG, 2013
DIY Strategy Improvements: 10 Activities for Community Foundations – The Giving Practice, 2015
Good to Great and the Social Sectors – Jim Collins 2005
Good to Great: Greater Milwaukee Foundation, 2005
MacMillan Matrix as a decision Tree – Trina Isakson, 2014
Prioritizing Roles: Crafting Your Strategic Portfolio – Monitor Institute, 2014
Sustainability Costing Tool – Council of Michigan Foundations, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, and Philanthropy Ohio, 2016
The Chronicle of Philanthropy ran a terrific article (behind the paywall) about Svetlana Hutfles, head of the Kansas Association of Community Foundations (KACF), and about the inspiring power of rural community philanthropy. In the article, Steve Alley said about Svetlana "She's kind of a force of nature. When she sees something that needs to be done, she does it."
Ekstrom Alley Clontz is proud to help fuel the relentless energy of KACF and its National Conference for Growing Commnunity Foundations. We've been a conference sponsor, volunteered for the conference advisory board, and had team members speaking at and facilitating sessions. We've consulted for KACF, including developing the CF Express Training video series, and consulted for many of its members.
We'd be happy to share what we've learned about running effective, growing community foundations with your foundation or regional association. Don't hesitate to contact us or find team members Steve and Tony at the conference in Wichita in October.
EAC recently led the strategic planning process for the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis in advance of the foundation's 50th anniversary. Sutton Mora Hayes, its Executive VP & COO, just wrote a blog post for the Center for Effective Philanthropy describing how the foundation used the results of its 2017 Donor Perception Report in the planning process.
Senior Partner Bryan Clontz was interviewed by the American Press in advance of speaking for the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. When asked about donor motivations, he said,
“They want to have an impact around that specific area [the nonprofit's mission], period. The motive is never taxes — ever, ever, ever. Taxes, with the efficiency and planning, helps them give more and to give more efficiently but the only reason people will give is they believe in the mission and they want to have an impact.”
Managing partner, Steve Alley, weighed in on controversy, leadership and "meeting donors where they are" in Inside Philanthropy's article, Why Is This Giant Community Foundation—and its Leader—So Controversial?
Thanks to Rick Peck from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Sandi Vidal from the Central Florida Foundation for joining our CFUnited 2018 session! We think your examples sparked great discussions for attendees! You can download our slide deck below.
Thanks so much to the staff of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia for a great day spent planning yesterday. - Steve Alley
All of us walk around with default lenses through which we view the world. The lenses are created through our experiences and relationships, the communities and cultures in which we’re raised, and more. When we’re at our best, we’re able to separate when those default lenses provide helpful perspectives and when they limit our thinking.
One of my primary default lenses is the importance of place. Until I went to college, my family and most of my cousins lived in the same county in Indiana. My parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were all active volunteers in local civic groups. The first 19 years of my professional career were focused on improving places, first through the State of Indiana’s community economic development department and then through the Central Indiana Community Foundation. The majority of the donors I worked with at the foundation focused on giving back to their hometown(s). And so far, most of my consulting clients outside of Ekstrom Alley Clontz have been focused on place.
The philanthropic sector is filled with associations focused on improving place – Grassroots Grantmakers, Neighborhood Funders Group, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change, Project for Public Spaces’ Funders Forum, and many more. And associations focused on issues such as education, arts, and the environment talk about much of their work through the lens of local communities.
This philanthropic focus on place – and on hometown – is likely declining.
One window into this decline comes from the new 2015 Trends Study* by the National Center for Family Philanthropy and Urban Institute. This statistically valid survey showed that 66% of family foundations currently focus their grantmaking on geographic locatAions. Their mental lenses are more about place than issue. However, younger foundations are less focused on place than older ones. Only 40% of foundations formed since 2010 focus their grantmaking on place, compared to 78% of foundations formed before 1970. This difference is magnified by the fact that almost 70% of family foundations launched in the 1990s and 2000s (see the graphic at the top).
The survey didn’t ask the reason for focus on place versus issue. NCFP and the Urban Institute wrote in their report:
Possibly younger family philanthropists are less tied to place than are their older peers because they have grown up in a more interrelated and global economy. At least for now, issues seem to capture their attention and philanthropic support more than does a place-based approach.
And the authors posed two questions for ongoing consideration:
Is the move toward funding issues solely a result of nefwer foundation motivation and behavior? As families move beyond the first couple of generations, will family dispersion—combined with a need to find common ground—lead to even more issue-based giving among older foundations?
Earlier this year, Emmett Carson, CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation posed a related challenge to the community foundation field in 21st-Century Community Foundations:
The shifting definition of what community means is creating a profound identity crisis for place-based institutions including community foundations.
He credits the shift in the meaning of community to two trends: the increased mobility of Americans (more of us are living in more locations over our lifetimes), and the increased use of technology to maintain vibrant, non-geographic communities based on nationality, ethnicity, gender, and interests and issues.
The Monitor Institute issued a similar challenge in 2014 in its Shift Happens report for community foundations, a report that is equally useful to family and private foundations. In addition to the trends Carson cited, the Monitor Institute noted the potential impact on philanthropy of:
Even as I attempt to set aside my own default lens, my sense is that place is an important part of most people’s identities. People express a passion for place through efforts to “buy local” or support neighborhood businesses through crowdfunding campaigns. They participate in corporate volunteer days at a local park or community center or volunteer through their congregation at a local shelter or food bank. They advocate to their friends to join them in supporting the local music scene or local food movement. Place can be a compelling cause, even if it isn’t a primary driver of a family’s charitable giving.
And, younger generations might be delaying their philanthropic connection to place. Perhaps they’ll be more likely to give and grant in a community in which they’ve raised their kids, built their own business, or enjoyed an active retirement. When I worked for the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, its fourth generation of trustees were ages 21 through mid-30s. Only two members of that generation lived in the founder’s and foundation’s hometown of Pittsburgh and few had settled down for the long run in any community. Perhaps in another 10 or 20 years, their patterns of giving will combine issues and places.
I’m now living in my third metro area after leaving the county in which I was raised. Along the way, a portion of my own philanthropy has shifted to each new geography, driven by the importance of place in my own values. The NCFP and other reports give me the sense that I may be more of an outlier in my giving as time goes on.
How about you? Are you seeing trends in giving and grantmaking that are focusing less on place?
Tony Macklin, Associate
Originally posted here.
* Full disclosure: I served on the advisory committee for the NCFP 2015 Trends Report.
When we do board retreats, we almost always survey the board beforehand to give us feedback on where they think the foundation is and what they would like to see for its future. The surveys help us identify not only what board members understand about the foundation's work, but the issues we may need to focus on during the retreat.
The one thing the surveys can't do is show us how ready the board is to have discussions about the "big picture." There is no way to know this until we get in the room. In some cases, it takes a little prodding to get them going, but other times they are fired up and ready to go right from the start. This enthusiasm is often a sign that they have been itching to have the discussion we are facilitating and can be a direct result of prior discussions, which may have fallen into one of four categories:
Nearly every board member we know equates the amount of time they spend talking about "big issues" with a more worthwhile board experience and a deeper commitment to the foundation. You might ask, "Doesn't this take time away from other things I have to do?" The answer is yes, but we believe it's the right way to spend your time. Enabling board members to be strategic partners in the foundation's work will generate a bigger long-term payoff than nearly anything else you can do.
So when should you "allow" the board to discuss the "big picture?" Every chance you get.
Steve Alley, Managing Partner
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.