Monthly Archives: April 2012

RA CEO Transitions

Last week, two regional association CEOs announced their departures. Betsy Nelson, president of Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, will retire at the end of 2012 and Sushma Raman, president of Southern California Grantmakers, will leave SCG in July to attend a mid-career Master’s program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Both these leaders will be sorely missed by the Forum Network. We thank them for their invaluable contributions over the years and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Since 1990, Betsy has led ABAG to a leadership role in the region and within the Regional Association of Grantmakers movement nationwide.  Her expertise in facilitating partnerships and collaboration and in enhancing family dynamics through philanthropy has been a key component in the growth of the organization.


Over the past five years, Sushma has shepherded SCG to become the sophisticated, responsive membership association it is today. SCG has steadily enhanced member services, programs, fundraising strategies, public policy work, operations and communications. With Sushma at the helm, membership has grown by 12 percent and membership retention rates have exceeded 95 percent. During her tenure, SCG’s operating budget increased to approximately $1.6 million, with several major foundations and corporations providing general operating support and sponsorships for the first time in SCG’s history.

Register Now for the 2012 Annual Conference

Registration is now open for this year’s annual conference for the Forum network that will take place on July 23-25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Omni William Penn. We hope you are planning to join us for this great opportunity to network and learn with your regional association peers. The conference will kick off with lunch on Monday, July 23, and conclude with lunch on Wednesday, July 25.

An impressive lineup of speakers will inspire you and teach you, beginning with Dr. Peter Ditto’s opening presentation, “Why Can’t We Get Along?” Ditto will examine our increasingly divided and polarized world where civil conversation between those with opposing views is increasingly rare, and discuss ideas for what can be done to solve these issues in the workplace. The Bush Foundation’s “The Art of Hosting” workshop will provide participants with successful meeting facilitation strategies to have conversations that matter. Jeffrey Davis will delve into “The Creative Mindset at Work” with engaging, story-rich presentation and activities that challenge the idea that “creativity” is the sole province of artists and suggest instead that creativity involves a certain mindset, series of habits, and conditions in service of flexible, effective problem-solving. Our closing speaker, Teressa Moore Griffin, will help you “uncover the truth of who you really are” and motivate you to live and lead with a spirit of purpose. Continue reading

Switzer Foundation Blogs FOTH

Partisan gridlock was evident at this year’s Foundations on the Hill. In a recent blog post, Lissa Widoff of the Switzer Foundations writes:

While we had the opportunity to hear from colleagues and panels of presenters on the first day of the conference, the undercurrent was both gratifying and alarming. Gratifying in that there are fabulous stories about the role that foundations and their nonprofit partners play in every corner of the country and the neutral role foundations have as a much-needed ingredient to advance many aspects of public policy. The alarming lesson in all this, as was aptly described by our retiring Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, is that the deadlock and partisanship in Congress has essentially brought all reasonable debate and problem-solving to a halt, and even more so in an election year.

Did you encounter a similar outlook in your meetings with Hill staffers? Let us know in the comments.