Monthly Archives: July 2012

Annual Conference Preview!

Are you getting excited for next week’s Annual Conference? We’re packing our bags and heading to Pittsburgh for the yearly member meetup. The Planning Committee has put together great sessions and allowed plenty of time for network with peers.

I was curious about what big topics would be emerging at this year’s conference, so I ran our agenda through a word cloud program and came up with the graphic above. Some of our favorite themes are there, of course: Regional Associations, network, colleagues, conversation, members,  etc. The two areas that jump out at me as receiving new emphasis are data and information and a focus on new ideas and creativity. I’m looking forward to see what our presenters have planned.

View the full agenda for this year’s conference along with all the details you need at



Thank You to Our Conference Sponsors

We would like to recognize the sponsors of the Forum’s Annual Conference next week. We greatly appreciate their support of the Forum network and encourage you to learn more about them below:

Foundation Source runs more than 1,000 private foundations nationwide, ranging from $250,000 to $250 million in assets. Now in our second decade, we are the largest foundation management and advisory firm in the U.S.

Established in 1945, The Pittsburgh Foundation is one of the nation’s oldest community foundations and is the 14th largest of more than 700 community foundations across the United States. The Foundation has strengthened its focus on community and the positive impact it strives to achieve through its grantmaking, the engagement of its donors in critical regional issues and its activities around convening and leadership, in collaboration with funding and civic partners.

Easy Office is a social venture that provides outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services to nonprofits nationwide. Working solely with nonprofits, Easy Office seeks to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the nonprofit sector overall.

The Heinz Endowments is based in Pittsburgh, where we use our region as a laboratory for the development of solutions to challenges that are national in scope. The mission is to help our region thrive as a whole community, economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally, while advancing the state of knowledge and practice in the fields in which we work.

ParenteBeard is ranked among the top 25 accounting firms in the U.S. A leader in providing CPA and business advisory services to small businesses, middle market companies, nonprofits and SEC registrants, ParenteBeard has 1,100 professionals located throughout the Mid Atlantic region.

Staff Meeting: Val Rozansky, Director of Knowledge Services

Staff Meeting is a feature here on the Forum’s Forum through which we check in with Forum staff members to find out what they’re working on, how you can get involved, and what they do in their off-hours.

Name:Val Rozansky
Position: Director of Knowledge Services
Years with the Forum: 6.5

What are your primary responsibilities at the Forum?

I’m responsible for the Knowledge Management (KM) efforts at the Forum Office and our network-wide KM initiative. In short, I deal with all things technology and online communications. If it has a physical or virtual on/off switch, I’m your guy. However, given that the Forum Office only has 5 staffers, we all pitch in wherever we can.

What part of your job is the most fun?

When it comes to technology, I consider myself an early adopter. I love gadgets and technical innovations. Whether we like it or not, technology has changed our industry and how we operate as associations. I’m convinced that this trend will continue and we should embrace the inevitable to stay relevant. I really enjoy the challenge of introducing and incorporating new approaches to our daily operations and streamlining processes to ultimately improve the value of our respective memberships. Slowly but surely the perception of technology is changing in our network. There’s less fear and inhibition, and more optimism. We can finally see tangible results from exploiting our commonalities and working collaboratively to capitalize on our early gains. This aspect of my job is truly rewarding.
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What’s Happening in Florida with the Engagement Initiative?

Guest Post by Maggie Gunther Osborn, Vice President, Florida Philanthropic Network

Florida is a natural partner for work in the aging arena right?  Of course, we have been called “God’s waiting room” and the place where older Americans come to retire and snowbirds that drive south during winter to warm their bones.  It’s where everyone comes to visit Mickey Mouse and Grandma and Grandpa.  Florida’s population is among the oldest in the country and in fact, we have the oldest county demographically in America, Sarasota County.

Sarasota median age: 44.5 years
Florida median age: 41.3 years
National median age 36.8 years

When I joined FPN in 2010 we were awarded a grant to be part of the final cohort of the GIA Engagement Initiative and I knew right away that I was in very new territory. My background as a grantmaker had been primarily in children and youth. Beyond funding for Seniors in Service I was very unaware of issues surrounding our aging population and even less familiar with what the members of FPN were doing in this arena. I had just not been in a place where I thought much about this burgeoning part of our community. As we began to discuss the possibilities of where we could go with our two years of effort, we signed on to partner with SECF, who was a year ahead of us in their engagement work and was creating regular webinars in which FPN’s members could participate. This being established we began to think of what else we could do. The discussions with my members, our funders, and the baseline survey provided the answers.

The member survey and subsequent programming have employed a broad view in asking our members about their funding and involvement in the aging arena. It was clear from our initial research and inquiry that, outside of the traditional framework of health funders, there were no funders among our membership that identified themselves as aging-issue funders, although many of them have some investment in the space. As FPN moved through planning discussions, we chose to work within the framework that all funders, in one way shape or form, are touching the aging population, especially those that are investing in safety net programming, economic development and housing during these difficult times. To address the broader audience of funders, FPN chose to meet them where they were in their funding, offering an additional lens of aging through which they could view their grantmaking.

We began to frame the conversation and all future programming outside traditional silos. Rather it became, and continues to be, the goal of FPN to look at the aging population as a lens that should always be used when looking at any grantmaking; not separate or apart but rather just another framing or piece of the whole puzzle. FPN has also tried to raise awareness of issues and opportunities not by separating out the conversation but rather by infiltrating conversations that Grantmakers and partners are already having. We have also tried adding some joy and energy to what can often times be heavy and unappealing subject matter; approaching from a frame of abundance rather than deprivation.

So what does this look like in Florida? First, one simple example was instead of having a session on aging issues at the 2012 summit that the usual suspects would attend, we educated the entire body of attendees by holding a trivia contest on aging facts that qualified attendees to be part of a drawing for an iPad and drew them to visit vendor booths. At the other end of the spectrum in Florida lies the incredible work that has given birth to The Institute for The Ages in Sarasota. The Institute for the Ages is a new “think” tank that came out of Florida’s economic development efforts. Their mission is to activate ideas that prepare us for the opportunities and challenges associated with aging populations. In addition to providing the infrastructure for, and access to, Sarasota County’s community test bed, the Institute connects members of the community, government, research organizations, companies and other partners to identify policy, product and service innovations that will improve the lives of people across age groups. The idea that aging populations are an economic engine that can be engaged and will drive the economic future for Sarasota is a reframing of the tradition conversation of this population being a drain on resources.

FPN has taken and will continue to take a nontraditional approach to this work and mark our success by shifts in attitudes and breadths of grantmaking that will encompass not isolate the aging populations as a valuable asset in our portfolios.

Highlights from RA Blogging

There are currently 15 regional associations blogging. A highlight of recent activity is below.

Arizona Grantmakers Forum
Member Spotlight: Nancy Baldwin, Hickey Family Foundation

Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers: Adventures in Philanthropy
From Baltimore to the Twin Cities: Reflections on Collective Impact

Gateway Center for Giving

Minnesota Council on Foundations: Philanthropy Potluck
Overcoming Barriers to Effective Evaluation

North Carolina Network of Grantmakers: Philanthropy NC
Recap: 2012 NCNG Corporate Funders Seminar

Northern California Grantmakers
NCG Welcomes New Peer Networks and Collaborative Philanthropy Program Specialist

Ohio Grantmakers Forum: Let’s Talk Philanthropy
Foundation leadership doesn’t reflect nation’s diversity

Philanthropy New York: Smart Assets
Changing the Debate on Education Policy

Philanthropy Northwest
Lessons Learned at Corporate Philanthropy Institute

Other regionals blogging include Colorado Association of Funders, Donors Forum (IL), Florida Philanthropic Network, Southeastern Council of Foundations, and Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.