Voices from the Field Posts

What funders should know in addressing the refugee crisis

Posted by Anna R. Hurt on September 24, 2015

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy hosted “The European Refugee Crisis: How Funders Can Help,” a webinar, on Sept. 15. Panelists were Bob Kitchen, International Rescue Committee; Shelly Pitterman, UNHCR; Ed Cain, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; and Michael Fields, Xylem Watermark. Panelists discussed how funders should approach the European refugee situation and the closely linked humanitarian crisis in Syria to include long-­‐term partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and targeted funding to root problems, such as development.

Leveraging social sector leadership: Opportunities for family philanthropy

Posted by Lori Bartczak and Nora Silver on September 24, 2015

While the connection between strong leadership and effective organizations may seem obvious, navigating the variety of ways grantmakers can support leadership can seem overwhelming. In GEO’s recent publication, Leveraging Social Sector Leadership, the authors present research that lifts up what social sector leaders say they need to be successful and how grantmakers can support those needs.

A journey with young philanthropists from the Andrus family: Working with the next gen to animate the principles of social justice

Posted by Alyson Wise on August 25, 2015

On a sunny summer Saturday morning, seven college-aged youth trickled into a collaboration space at the offices of the Surdna Foundation and the Andrus Family Fund to commence the yearlong Board Executives in Training Program (BETS). The organization’s commitment to this work was a long-standing pursuit of the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program (AFPP); for almost fifteen years, it had implemented innovative, inclusive, and flexible programing to engage family members of all ages and interests to get involved in the family’s philanthropies and in public service. BETS itself, had been facilitated previously for four cohorts of youth interested in learning more about the sector and the family legacy.

Learning together with the Hilton Foundation

Posted by Heather Peeler on August 25, 2015

Have you ever been the one tasked with making the plans for a vacation with a large group of people? If so, you know what it is like to juggle many different schedules, preferences and opinions. However, when everyone puts the time and work in and shares the responsibility, it can be a wonderful experience. Coming together to accomplish something results in greater payoff than going at it solo. For the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the process of intentionally fostering learning with other organizations is paramount in its grantmaking for just this reason.

What's next for the Ford Foundation?

Posted by Darren Walker on July 23, 2015

Last fall, when I wrote about my first year on the job, I asked you all to do something that would be very helpful to me: Tell me the truth. That simple request drew more than 2,000 e-mails to my inbox. Some of them were profound and insightful. Others, lighthearted. But all of them were truthful. And I couldn’t be more grateful. In reading and reflecting on each and every response, I have become more aware of the ways in which we can improve our institution, and serve our mission. Indeed, these last 20-some months have been a transformative journey. Throughout, I have been challenged and humbled. In some cases, my beliefs were affirmed. In others, my assumptions were completely upended. In every instance, your constructive, and sometimes provocative, ideas have stirred, stimulated, and inspired.

Admitting Failure: Learning from mistakes in philanthropy

Posted by Bob Giloth on June 25, 2015

I was recently invited to speak about mistakes and learning in philanthropy at the Grants Managers Network's annual conference. My talk and panel presentation argued that admitting failures contributes to high-quality implementation, innovation of new strategies and improved governance and transparency. It’s good medicine that doesn’t always taste so good. Yet despite increasing philanthropic interest in mistakes and learning, many foundation staff still find it difficult to have conversations about mistakes...

Narrow and Deep

Posted by Jay Ruderman on June 25, 2015

I was once told that “when you’ve seen one foundation, you’ve seen one foundation.” Every foundation, public or private, is different. Each foundation is passionate about the issues they support but the way they “do business” differs vastly. Some foundations solicit applications, distribute funds and this is the extent of their involvement. Others are very private about their funding while some are very public. Since I became President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, I have pursued a path of going “narrow and deep” for the main issue we advocate for: the inclusion of people with disabilities in our society. Twenty percent of the U.S. population has some form of disability and it’s the only minority group almost all of us are guaranteed of joining at some point in our lives...

I am Family Philanthropy: William Graustein

Posted by National Center for Family Philanthropy on May 27, 2015

Every day we see committed and generous families making positive impacts on the communities and issues they serve. We want to share their stories and are delighted to announce our new I Am Family Philanthropy video series. Each month, we will share a new compelling profile in their own words. In this month's video, we are delighted to share the reflections of William Graustein of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.

Giving to Nepal Earthquake Response? Take Three Long Breaths

Posted by Karen Keating Ansara on May 27, 2015

With today’s news of the horrific Nepal earthquake I am driven to take immediate action — to make an on-line donation or wire money to friends of friends in the dust-choked streets of Kathmandu and green pinnacles of rural Nepal. I am consumed with the grief of my many Nepali friends who are like family to me. But my experience of the Haiti earthquake response via the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation has taught me one paramount lesson: TAKE A BREATH. Unless I am physically on the scene, I imagine my Nepali friends with their contemplative souls would agree. Take a breath and assess...

Ready: Invest! Set: Customize! Go: Impact!

Posted by Adam Simon on May 27, 2015

What would it take to create a core of exceptional leaders equipped with the tools and capacity to be effective change agents, networked to maximize the reverberation of their leadership and committed to doing so for their entire lives? At the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, this question is at the core of our mission to empower young people to make a positive impact in their communities. In all of our focus areas, we create and support initiatives that invest in strengthening the leadership potential of individuals, as we believe the key to solving our most intractable societal issues lies in the strength of the leaders that spearhead such changes.

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