The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national partner for Project Streamline.
Project Streamline has a simple premise: that the cumulative impact of the philanthropic sector’s requirements undermines nonprofit effectiveness, causing grantseekers to devote too much time to seeking funding (often without payoff) and reporting on grants (often without benefit) to the detriment of their mission-based work.
Five years ago, Project Streamline – a field-wide effort led by the Grants Managers Network – published “Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted From Purpose,” a study of the burdens of application and reporting.
Since then, the effort has developed resources to help grantmakers understand this burden and take steps to reduce it. Project Streamline produced practical tools, convened conversations, offered workshops and webinars, and released a self-assessment instrument, developed in partnership with the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Many grantmaking associations and other philanthropy support groups have promoted streamlining concepts and principles.
Has it worked? Well, it depends on who you ask. Continue reading
Regional associations of grantmakers can be natural and effective partners for national funders that wish to derive greater impact from their work in local areas. Regional associations have the ties that create strong local networks, the trust that creates local buy-in, and the knowledge about local issues, interests and culture. All of these things are absolutely vital for a national funder to incorporate if their work in local communities is to be successful.
But what should national funders and regional associations keep in mind when working together? How do different perspectives come into play, and how do they affect understanding, implementation and outcomes of joint projects?
Our colleagues at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation are pleased to share Partnering for Impact: Combining National Knowledge with Regional Leverage for Local Impact, a new report for the field of philanthropy that attempts to answer some of these questions. Continue reading
The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers has announced Ret Boney as the next Executive Director of the Network. Ret will begin May 13, 2013.
Previous to joining NCNG, Boney served as Senior Vice President of Clarity Group, a consulting group for nonprofits, and as the Deputy Editor of the Philanthropy Journal.
NCNG’s current executive director Bobbi Hapgood will depart on May 17th. Bobbi has played a vital role in the Forum Network especially in the policy realm, participating in PolicyWorks and leading the North Carolina Foundations on the Hill delegation. We wish her the best in her future adventures!
Dawn Townsend of Conference of Southwest Foundations recently surveyed regional association staff to find out the top philanthropy blogs and bloggers. These are the blogs that regional association staffers are reading everyday to keep on top of the sector.
The Forum is pleased to announce that Southern California Grantmakers has joined the Knowledge Management Initiative. The Forum’s integrated system consists of a dynamic web site supported by a robust Drupal content management system integrated with the industry-leading Salesforce database and featuring a collective Knowledgebase of quality materials for grantmakers. With SCG, nearly three quarters of regional associations are participating in KM. Continue reading
The Maine delegation led by Janet Henry of Maine Philanthropy Center meets with Senator Susan Collins.
Several regional associations have reported on their successful Hill meetings at this year’s Foundations on the Hill. Here’s a quick round up of what happened in DC and how regionals are taking the conversation forward.
Sherry Ristau, president and CEO of Southwest Initiative Foundation, shared her experience at Foundations on the Hill with Minnesota Council on Foundations’ Philanthropy Potluck blog:
As I learned more about proposed policy changes, it became clear that there certainly could be big changes—and that the charitable deduction benefit is in jeopardy. As I visited one-to-one with key Congressional offices, it is clear we could lose this important incentive encouraging Americans to give. I am truly afraid of the unintended consequences of how our government is looking at the charitable deduction.
Meanwhile Adam Donaldson, Members Services Director at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers had this to say about what legislators need from the philanthropic sector:
ABAG met this week with the offices of Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and John Sarbanes (D-MD) to inform them of current policy debates surrounding the charitable deduction and examples of our members’ impact through funder collaborations. Each office asked for the same thing. More input. They encouraged grantmakers to provide commentary on policy proposals, explaining how current projects underway in Maryland could be affected.
Finally Mindie Reule, Program Manager for Public Policy at Philanthropy Northwest, strikes an upbeat note and gives us a heads up for what’s coming up on Congress’s agenda:
… we heard general support for our sector from both Republicans and Democrats, and recognition of the importance of philanthropy and nonprofits to our communities and civil society. We also know that members of Congress and their staff on both the House and Senate are working on tax reform this year—and tax policy that affects foundations and nonprofits has and will be part of those conversations.
This morning over 300 philanthropic leaders gathered together at the 2013 Alliance for Charitable Reform Summit for Leaders as part of Foundations on the Hill, an annual opportunity for grantmakers and regional associations to meet with their federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. At the summit, they heard from Congressional staff and public policy leaders about the most pressing issues facing the charitable sector.
As foundation leaders and regional association staff meet with Members of Congress across the next two days, they’ll be stressing the importance of protecting the charitable deduction. A donor who itemizes can take a deduction on his or her gift at the same rate as his or her tax rate. The charitable deduction encourages charitable giving, benefiting communities across the country. As Congress considers ways to raise revenue and simplify the tax code, the charitable deduction has come under scrutiny as a potential revenue generator. However, the charitable deduction is very different from other tax benefits because it is the only one that encourages individuals to give away a portion of their income without getting anything back.
Any effort to cap or limit the charitable giving will have a devastating impact on nonprofits. Academic studies of President Obama’s proposed cap of 28 percent project that up to $5.6 billion in charitable giving would be lost each year—that’s the equivalent of the annual operating budgets of the Red Cross, Goodwill, the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities, and the American Cancer Society combined. The Forum, the Council, and the Philanthropy Roundtable encourage Congress to advance proposals to increase giving, not limit it.
To follow all the action as foundations head to the Hill, follow the hashtag #FOTH on Twitter. For more information on how to protect the charitable deduction, visit the website of the Charitable Giving Coalition at www.protectgiving.org. The time to use your voice is now.