Monthly Archives: February 2010

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…

…or eyes, rather. Welcome to the Forum’s Forum, a blog from the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. Here you’ll find all the latest news from the Forum network, comprised of 33 regional associations representing over 4000 grantmakers.

We’ll be posting commentary and announcements regarding the philanthropic field, with contributions from our members. Comment away! We want to hear from you—not only here on the blog, but also through our social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

To get things started, we’ve posted below all our features since July. If you’ve been dying to weigh in on something, now’s your chance.

Forum members are encouraged to submit posts—something from your own site or something just for us—by contacting Dan Brady. If you have any comments you want to share offline, questions, or ideas for how to make this blog better, Dan is ready to listen.

We’re excited to get started. Thanks for checking us out. We hope that this will be a space you can truly call your own and the home to some thriving conversations about the philanthropic field.


How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Over at the Minnesota Council on Foundation‘s Philanthropy Potluck blog, Stephanie Jacobs has a great post reviewing Dan and Chip Heath’s new book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Here’s a snippet:

According to a new book by Dan and Chip Heath, it’s not necessarily that change is hard.  In fact, some changes are pretty easy to make or even happen without people noticing (for instance, did you think ketchup was still the number one condiment in the U.S.?  Guess again!)  In Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, the Heath brothers explore why some changes are easier to make than others.  The stories, tools, and advice they provide can be useful in your personal life, in your organization, or when you are trying to make changes in a community.

Dan and Chip start off by stating that there are two sides of the brain that inform how we decide to make changes: 1) the rational side that prefers logic and reason, and 2) the emotional side that caters to our feelings.  When these sides work together, making a change is easier.  When they work against each other, it’s much harder to make a change.  The simplest example of this is demonstrated when someone is trying to lose weight.  The rational side of the brain knows that to lose weight you should eat salads, but the emotional side of the brain really wants a cookie.

The authors take this premise to build on a metaphor borrowed from The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.  Imagine that the emotional side of your brain is a gigantic elephant that is instinctual and impulsive (“Mmmmm…cookie!”)  Now imagine that the elephant has a rider on its back, trying to guide that elephant in a certain direction.  The rider is the rational side of your brain (“Dressing on the side, please!”)

Stephanie digs a little deeper and passes on the three secrets to making change easier. Read the full post here.

Register Now for Foundations on the Hill

Since 2003, the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers have co-sponsored Foundations on the Hill, an annual opportunity for grantmakers to meet with their federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. This partnership effectively combines the Council’s expertise on legal and legislative matters with the regional associations’ expertise on local philanthropy and the leverage they bring as local constituents.

During Foundations on the Hill, foundation trustees, executives and staff, working with their regional association, schedule meetings on Capitol Hill to personally discuss their work with members of Congress. In addition to congressional meetings, participants attend training sessions and a breakfast event featuring remarks by a member(s) of Congress.

The purpose of Foundations on the Hill is to:

• Inform and educate Congress about philanthropy
• Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Capitol Hill
• Advocate on issues affecting foundations
• Encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues

With a new Congress convening in January, it is critical that elected officials hear from their foundation constituents. By attending Foundations on the Hill, you can develop or strengthen your relationships with your members of Congress and share your views on the latest charitable legislation. Members of Congress are most influenced when constituents from their states or districts advance a cause on behalf of themselves and their national organizations. A meeting in Washington shows an extra level of dedication and commitment to that cause.

Foundations on the Hill 2010 will take place on March 16- 17. Registration for Foundations on the Hill is open to trustees, executives and staff of grantmaking foundations and regional associations of grantmakers. While Foundations on the Hill is open to both Council/Forum members or nonmembers, your organization must be eligible to be a member of the Council or Forum (see eligibility criteria).

If you are interested in attending Foundations on the Hill 2009, contact Chatrane Birbal (703/879-0689) at the Council or Courtney Moore (703/879-0809) at the Forum.

IRS Releases 2009 990 Forms

With just two months until Tax Day, the IRS has finalized the 2009 Forms 990, 990-EZ, schedules and instructions. There have been several changes since last year’s iteration in order to clarify and modify reporting requirements. Significant changes have been outlined at

Register Now for February 16th Webinar on ARRA and Education Funding

Despite the many challenges facing our nation, we enter 2010 with a unique opportunity to advance the cause of education reform in this country. President Obama and Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan have committed to investing unprecedented federal resources to improving our nation’s schools.  The education funding community has an unique opportunity to form partnerships and leverage these resources to promote and support more effective education policies and practices, particularly in the next few months.

In response, a national webinar, hosted by Foundation Center in partnership with the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers is scheduled for February 16, 2010 from 3:00 – 4:30 ET.   Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Judy Wurtzel, Deputy Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development and Charlie Rose, General Counsel will join funders for the first hour to discuss the ED’s strategies and priorities regarding the stimulus funding, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, and answer questions.   The last half hour will be an opportunity to for the regional associations to share and discuss current efforts  underway to leverage federal resources and other opportunities. Continue reading

Foundation Center Launches

By Marisela Orta, Northern California Grantmakers

Yesterday the Foundation Center launched, a web platform “designed to inspire greater openness among private foundations…[encouraging foundations] to tell the stories of their successes — and failures — in part by highlighting exemplary efforts of their peers.”

The term “glass pockets” was coined over 50 years ago by “then-Carnegie Corporation of New York Board Chair Russell Leffingwell, who told a McCarthy-era Congressional hearing: We think that the foundation should have glass pockets.”

The call for greater transparency in philanthropy has already been answered by several foundations featured on In doing so, foundations are able to tell their stories: why they give grants, to whom, and the impact and difference they are making in the communities they serve.