Monthly Archives: October 2009

HUD Secretary Visits Philanthropy Northwest

On October 2, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, visited with Philanthropy Northwest members whose work addresses homelessness and community resiliency in Seattle and the Puget Sound. This special Philanthropy Northwest discussion was co-sponsored with the Seattle Foundation and the Council on Foundations.

Calling philanthropy the “glue” in place-based interventions, the Secretary said there is now an opportunity to re-define the relationship between philanthropy and the federal government. His Office believes philanthropy can play a distinct role from the government and private sector by: supporting research and data collection and being a neutral broker of information; facilitating the sharing of information via convening; testing new ideas that could be scaled up to larger programs; and filling in the gaps of federal support by creating local, place-based solutions.

Three members, Betsy Lieberman from Building Changes, Norman Rice from The Seattle Foundation and Tricia McKay from the Medina Foundation, shared examples of their organization’s local work before the Secretary took general questions from the audience. Philanthropy Northwest thanks board member Richard Woo of The Russell Family Foundation for welcoming attendees and setting the context for this discussion.

Benchmarking Diversity

Benchmarking Diversity: A First Look at New York City Foundations and Nonprofits, a new report from Philanthropy New York, explores the results of a comprehensive survey conducted this past fall and winter in partnership with the Foundation Center to examine the racial, gender, sexuality, and disability staff demographics of participating New York City-area foundations and nonprofits.

The report also looks at grantmaking policies and data collection around diversity and inclusion, examines the institutional capacities of nonprofit organizations, and looks at the range of ways that nonprofits define themselves as “minority-led.”

Philanthropy New York undertook this project because the conversation on diversity had proceeded ungrounded by any research-based knowledge about the racial and ethnic makeup of New York-area nonprofits and foundations. The report represents a first step in building that knowledge rather than a definitive assessment of diversity within foundations and nonprofits, with hope that it will engender considerable discussion within the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.

The Philanthropy New York blog, Smart Assets, has published a post containing language from Philanthropy New York’s informational preface to the report, a link to a PDF of the report, and several comments from foundation and nonprofit leaders. Smart Assets is a venue in which Philanthropy New York hopes to continue the conversation through comments by readers.

This report provides an opportunity to examine diversity in the philanthropy sector. As an organization, Philanthropy New York is working with several peer regional associations and will continue to look at the issues connected to diversity in philanthropy and provide a forum for meaningful discussion.

The Twitter Trend: RAs and Social Networking

As social networking services continue to evolve, regional associations are adopting and adapting. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are established as the leaders in new media, but best practices are still being codified. With these services constantly changing, regional associations are experimenting, playing, and finding out what works best for each organization.

Twitter is the current social media platform of choice for regional associations, with more than a dozen organizations maintaining a presence there—Facebook comes in a close second with eight RAs represented. Below is a list of RA twitter accounts that you can follow for the latest news from each organization and discussion of the wider field. Continue reading