Monthly Archives: March 2011

10 Questions or Less for Helen Ishii

10 Questions or Less is a feature here on the Forum’s Forum in which we get to know regional association staff members a little better—their work, what drives them, and more. This week,  Helen Ishii, Director of Member & Government Relations at Southeastern Council of Foundations.  If you would like to suggest someone for a profile through 10 Questions or Less, contact Dan Brady.

Earlier this month, you attended Foundations on the Hill as a delegation captain. What issues did you talk about with your legislators?
After years and years of discussing it, I was thrilled to see how many Congressmen are aware of the private foundation excise tax issue and most importantly are willing to support a flat rate.

Limit on charitable deductions—I am somewhat comforted by universal dismissal of the decoupling of the deduction for charitable donations from the personal income tax rate, but am not totally convinced it is a dead issue as it continues to make an appearance in President Obama’s budget. Continue reading


Apply and Nominate Now for Career Pathways

Career PathwaysThe Council on Foundations is now accepting nominations and applications for its second Career Pathways program. The program’s goal is to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline who are considered, appointed, and retained in senior and executive leadership positions in philanthropic organizations.

Application for early consideration are due by March 31 and the final application deadline is April 26. Application and nomination forms are available online. Prospective applicants and nominators are invited to attend an information call to learn more about the program and application process on April 18 at 2 pm EST (call 866-642-1665, code 128706).

FOTH Report: Philanthropy Northwest

Delegation members with Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho (second from left)

Reports from FOTH are beginning to roll in. Mindie Ruele, Program Manager for Public Policy at Philanthropy Northwest, comes in first with her excellent recap over on the PNW blog.

Mindie and her regional delegation met with 18 elected officials or their staff while in DC. Here are some of her takeaways:

Philanthropists and elected officials share a deep commitment to figuring out society’s toughest challenges. Philanthropy’s independence from government allows our sector to approach those problems in different ways than government might. Several times, I heard elected officials say, “Philanthropy would be the perfect neutral convener for a conversation about (fill in the blank).” You can fill in that blank with lots of different topics: tax reform, poverty alleviation, better public-private collaboration, education, and more. Continue reading

RAs Respond to Crisis in Japan

Last Friday Japan was struck by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake resulting in a devastating tsunami and an unfolding, perilous situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Regional associations have been working hard to coordinate responses by their members and share information about the latest news, needs, and resources. Below are a few highlights of how regionals are responding.

Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

ABAG will serve as a clearinghouse for resources and information about relief efforts. The newly created Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Efforts section of ABAG’s website will be updated as new information is received.  The Disaster Grantmaking section of the ABAG website provides additional resources. Continue reading

Welcome to the Network, Delaware Grantmakers Association!

Over the last two years we have set out to create a “new” Forum that seeks to strengthen the capacity of regional associations to serve their members and to expand and broaden the reach of regional associations in order to have a stronger impact on issues impacting philanthropy.   We are happy to report that we are further expanding our reach by welcoming our 35th member to the Forum network—the Delaware Grantmakers Association! Continue reading

Foundations on the Hill: What You’re Missing

As I write this, foundation leaders are meeting with their Members of Congress and congressional staff to discuss issues critical to their districts and, more broadly, to philanthropy. This year Foundations on the Hill had over 250 participants! Grantmakers have come to Washington, DC to inform and educate Congress about philanthropy, create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Captiol Hill, advocate on issues affecting our field, and encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues. Continue reading

Take that Hill! FOTH Begins Tomorrow

Foundations on the Hill kicks off tomorrow morning. There are currently over 245 regional association and foundation representatives registered for this year’s event.

A basic agenda for this year’s event is available online. If you won’t be able to join us this year, you can follow the event on twitter with the event hashtag, #FOTH, on the Council’s blog, RE:Philanthropy, and right here on the Forum’s Forum.

Also, please join the Forum office for a FOTH debrief on Wednesday, March 16 at 1 pm EST to discuss what worked and didn’t work for this year’s Foundations on the Hill, and how we should move forward.  The Forum and Council will be holding our joint debriefing session on Thursday, March 17 and we would love to have feedback from the network to bring to the meeting.  Register online for the call-in information.

Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is an annual two-day legislative and public policy event in Washington, DC, for foundation staff and philanthropic leaders.  We partner with regional associations to promote to members of Congress the important role foundations and philanthropy play in serving the public good.  Find out more at