Friends Focus is a special feature of Family Giving News highlighting brief updates and announcements on the cutting edge work of family foundations and advised funds that are members of our Friends of the Family network. Are you a current Friend of the National Center and have an update you’d like to share with Family Giving News readers?

Beth Casselman of the The Clowes Fund named 2012 Hazelett Award winner by the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance

The Hazelett Award, named for Susie Hazelett, a teacher, volunteer and philanthropist, is for Leadership in Grantmaking. Beth Casselman embodies the giving spirit indicative of this award as evidenced by mentoring and nurturing professional development in others; a giver of time, talent and other resources, a strong professional with the highest standards; integrity; and creativity. Beth Casselman has guided The Clowes Fund, since 2001 when she joined as their first Executive Director, to develop a more focused, transparent grantmaking process adhering to the original ideals of the Clowes Family and is now leading the Fund through a multi-generational governance transition. Beth has also contributed her tremendous talents to the National Center for Family Philanthropy as a Friends of the Family Committee member. Read more here.

The Sampson Foundation partners with Planet Green

The Sampson Foundation is partnering with Planet Green to help the environment by recycling old ink cartridges, cell phones, and small electronics while simultaneously raising money for a nonprofit. If you would like to participate simply collect old electronics as an office or family and send them to Planet Green. Then send an email to Kristy at the Sampson Foundation cataloging what you sent. Whomever donates the largest amount of electronics will get to pick the charity or choose between Chris 4 Life Or Grow Pittsburgh to receive the prize money. Click here to learn more.

The Celia Lipton Farris & Victor W. Farris Foundation hiring first executive director

The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation seeks an Executive Director to launch the Foundation’s grantmaking program in 2013. The Foundation will provide opportunities for enhancing the quality of life through excellence in education, improved health and wellbeing, and participation in the arts. Family members serve as Trustees. Foundation assets in excess of $80 million were received in 2012. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director is responsible for facilitating the work of the Trustees and administering the Foundation. This is a new position. In coordination with the Trustees, the Executive Director’s initial priorities include the development of the processes, policies, technology and communication required to launch and sustain a well-organized, professional, grantmaking program. Please send a letter of introduction and a current resume to Applications will be reviewed in early January 2013, and interviews will be held in February. For more information, please go to

The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation uses new media to tell foundation & grantee stories

A year and a half ago, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation hired their first communications officer to help tell their story and increase transparency for grantees and partners. They just rolled out a new website and all of their social media channels simultaneously. The interactive funder’s map on the website makes it easy to see where they fund. They also put information about their mission related investing to be more transparent and to inspire others to consider this tool, and created the MRBF Story Bank showcasing voices of southern opportunity and equity. Check out the new website here.

Chronicle on Philanthropy editorial shares collaborative grantmaking approach needed to address the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy

Phil Henderson, CEO of the Surdna Foundation, wrote an article in collaboration with other leaders entitled Sandy’s Challenge for Grant Makers: Fix Water, Food, and Transit Systems. Here is a short excerpt: “Those who lived for a week or more without electricity, water, or transportation in the aftermath of Sandy instantly understood the fragility of our physical systems. But now it’s up to foundations and nonprofits to make the link for voters, policy makers, businesses, and others about the part we all need to play in rebuilding better. A meaningful recovery requires us to push a vision of next-generation infrastructure that improves the nation’s transit systems, makes buildings more energy-efficient, better manages water systems, and improves our food system… Superstorm Sandy was a stark reminder about how much things are changing around us. Philanthropy, with its long-term perspective, must be at the forefront of the work to build next-generation infrastructure, championing innovative and effective solutions to our critical systems for the betterment of not just New York and New Jersey but our nation as a whole.” To read more click here.

William Penn Foundation begins search for new president to implement strategic plan

The William Penn Foundation’s new strategic plan will deliver on the values of stewardship, respect for others, transparency, communication, learning and commitment to collaboration that have guided the William Penn Foundation for nearly 70 years. The Haas family reaffirms its enduring commitment to children, culture and the environment. In support of those areas of focus, the strategic plan endeavors to serve the community by closing the achievement gap for children from low-income families; ensuring a sustainable environment by protecting the Delaware and Susquehanna watersheds; and advancing Philadelphia as a leading center of creativity that enhances civic life. To read more click here.