Category Archives: Interview

10 Questions or Less for Charlotte Anheier

10 Questions or Less is a feature through which we get to know regional association staff members a little better—their work, what drives them, and more. If you would like to suggest someone for a profile through 10 Questions or Less, contact Dan Brady. This week, Charlotte Anheier, Online Community Manager for Southern California Grantmakers.

Congratulations on launching your new site. It looks great! You’ve clearly put a lot of work into it. What do you hope to accomplish with the new site that you couldn’t do before?

The goal was to create a site that is easy to navigate, provides great resources and news to members, and functions as an important member benefit. I also hope that the site will provide a strong platform for future developments like collaborative workspaces and all those other great ideas we haven’t thought of yet!

From your perspective, what is the best part of working with the Forum and other regional associations on a common Drupal-Salesforce platform?

The amount of knowledge shared within the group is really incredible. When you’re really lost and have no idea how to create that formula field in Salesforce or how to set up a mandrill template, you have 50+ experts to email or call about it. Also, having the Forum staff (especially Val) available on the Saturday afternoon before you launch the site to assist with the inevitable “everything is going wrong” moment is priceless. Continue reading

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Staff Meeting: Meg MacIver

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.
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Name: Meg MacIver
Position: Communications and Member Services Intern
Years with the Forum: 2 days

What are your primary responsibilities at the Forum?
I help with website maintenance by keeping it up to date with new content. I will also be assisting with other online communications, knowledge management, and analysis of membership surveys. I am around to help out with wherever I can.

What part of your job are you most excited about?
I am excited to learn more about the philanthropy world. The Forum is in an interesting position, collaborating with many different people at regional associations across the country. I look forward to learning more about how people share information and what issues are important to them.
Continue reading

PolicyWorks Spotlight: Stacy Carlson, Helios Foundation

Stacy Carlson is is the Vice President and Program Director – Florida of Helios Education Foundation in Tampa, Florida and a member of the Florida Philanthropic Network.

This interview was conducted over email by Dan Brady at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers as part of our PolicyWorks for Philanthropy interview series.

Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. Accomplishing that vision requires strategic investment along the entire education continuum with a focus on creating a college-going culture and advancing academic preparedness  for all students. Investment for Helios doesn’t stop at financial investment. The Foundation recognizes that the opportunity for lasting, sustainable change requires financial investments, as well as expertise and leadership. Within that purview of activity, we also see the opportunity for engaging in public policy issues. When appropriate, the opportunity for sustainability rests in building a public policy platform that supports the depth and breadth of evidence-based practices to positively influence broader reform.

What does working with Florida Philanthropic Network allow you to do together that you couldn’t do yourself? What does working with FPN make possible?

The Florida Philanthropic Network provides a network of funders who can come together in a safe space to learn, test new concepts and consider opportunities for collaboration. Through its statewide presence, FPN elevates the collective work of the philanthropic sector which gives the sector more credibility and influence in the statewide issues we support. The organization takes the individual priorities and actions of a disparate group of foundations and finds common ground from which to build a relevant case for why the philanthropic sector matters.

PolicyWorks Spotlight: Kim VanPelt, Arizona Health Futures, St. Luke’s Health Initiative

Kim VanPelt is is the director of Arizona Health Futures at St. Luke’s Health Initiatives in Phoenix, Arizona and a member of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum board.

This interview was conducted over the phone by Dan Brady at the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers as part of our PolicyWorks for Philanthropy interview series.

How does collaborating with Arizona Grantmakers Forum improve your own organization’s work around public policy issues?

Arizona Grantmakers Forum (AGF) provides a conduit for funders to not only understand important policy issues but also to understand how their own existing contributions or potential contributions in the realm of public policy might connect with the work of other funders or other work that’s happening in the community.

We know that systems change of any sort requires a broad array of approaches with a number of different partners. The more we can use AGF as a forum to develop better shared understanding about not only the issues but the work, the better. Continue reading

PolicyWorks Spotlight: Kathleen Pierce, Kirkpatrick Family Foundation

Kathleen Pierce is the managing trustee of the Kirkpatrick Family Foundation, a small family Foundation based in Seattle, WA. She’s also the vice chair of the Philanthropy Northwest public policy committee.

Mindie Reule, Public Policy Program Manager at Philanthropy Northwest, conducted this interview with Kathleen over email as part of our new PolicyWorks for Philanthropy interview series.

What does working with Philanthropy Northwest allow you to do in the public policy area that you couldn’t do yourself? What does working with Philanthropy Northwest make possible?

First, Philanthropy Northwest gives our foundation some tools, such as information on IRS rules and evaluation approaches, that have helped our small family foundation fund advocacy work more effectively. Perhaps more important for our foundation, however, are the many ways that Philanthropy Northwest has “greased the wheels” to enable us to work collaboratively with other foundations, and with government. I have found over the years that policy work is best done collaboratively. I have also found that while foundations sometimes expressly set out to work together to achieve a specific policy change, such as creating a portal to public benefits, more frequently, foundations start tackling a problem together and end up realizing that policy work is an essential systems-level change for solving that problem. That said, it is very hard to get the right collaborative partners to the table and harder still to keep them there, and this is where Philanthropy Northwest has often played a big role. Staff members have helped to identify and invite the right folks, arrange and facilitate meetings, do policy and community research, support collaborative planning, and now Philanthropy Northwest has the specific skills and relationships to do even more to support collaborative efforts—through the talents of the Giving Practice, Philanthropy Northwest’s consulting service. People are more likely to come to the table and stay there if they know there will be high level, trusted support for their efforts.

How did you come to realize working with Philanthropy Northwest on policy would work for you? Or did you encourage Philanthropy Northwest?

I started working on public policy at Philanthropy Northwest in the early 1990s, soon after our foundation was created. I was a member of early committees formed primarily to do government relations work. In the mid-90s, Philanthropy Northwest worked with the Washington State Department of Revenue to prevent the state from taxing foundation grants to nonprofits (as contracts for services subject to business and occupation (B&O) tax). That effort increased interest in the membership to do more policy work. However, we missed some opportunities for many years, I think, since we focused on our association role as representing our members interests on policy issues, not on building members’ capacity to do policy work—on their own or by working collectively. Thanks to Daniel Kemmis’ leadership (Daniel is the former board chair of the Northwest Area Foundation), this member support role is now central to our policy work, and it has made a huge difference. Our members now understand the importance of public policy work—their own and Philanthropy Northwest—and support this work financially.

What is an interesting public policy issue you are engaged in through Philanthropy Northwest right now or a recent success you are particularly proud of?

Currently, I am working with more than 20 private and public funders to form a partnership focused directly on policy work—making smart public and private infrastructure investments in housing, transportation, jobs, green space and other assets that will enable communities to develop in ways that advance equity, the environment, and the economy. In the near term, we are working together to ensure that all benefit and prosper as communities change and develop along our existing and proposed light rail lines. We are still in the early stages of our work, but are beginning to implement strategies focused on fostering community engagement, enhancing regional leadership around equity and the environment, creating a risk capital fund, and investing in good data and research. Philanthropy Northwest has played a major role in convening and supporting this complex collaborative undertaking.

In advocacy, speaking with one voice as an industry can have a powerful affect. How does Philanthropy Northwest work on behalf of all its members on policy issues?

At Philanthropy Northwest, we have not often advocated on behalf of our members on issues affecting them. Generally, we have educated our members on policy issues and focused on building strong relationships with policy makers and administrators. We have an intentional strategy of establishing our regional association as a resource for government—a first stop to learn about what philanthropy is doing in the region. I think there is growing understanding among public officials that philanthropy can play a major role in helping to solve tough public problems, and we are seeing more federal and state agencies coming to Philanthropy Northwest for information, advice, and potential partners. We are currently thinking about how Philanthropy Northwest can play a more potent role in forming and supporting public-private partnerships, which appear to be catching on in both sectors. One promising tactic may be to better engage government officials as members and co-learners at conferences, workshops, and other sessions.

Staff Meeting: Courtney Moore, Member Services Manager

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: Courtney Moore
Position: Member Services Manager
Years with the Forum: 6

What are your primary responsibilities at the Forum?

My primary responsibilities vary throughout the year. I schedule member calls and webinars and manage most of our vendor relationships for member discounts. I also edit the bi-weekly newsletter, Forum Bits, and write some of the content. I work with Mary O’Neill and Erin Skene-Pratt on the logistics of the annual conference and PolicyWorks Institute. Mary and I also work with the Council on Foundations and Alliance for Charitable Reform on Foundations on the Hill each year (FOTH 2013 will be March 19-20.) I also manage our surveys throughout the year especially the annual RA Salary & Benefits Survey and RA Characteristics Survey. In addition, I handle orientations for new RA staff, uploading job postings, adding RA events to our online calendar, and most of our office’s admin tasks.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I would say the most enjoyable part of the job is the interactions with regional association staff. I always look forward to the times each year that we get to see each in person and not just via email and the phone. I also like analyzing the results of our two annual surveys. There are always interesting similarities and differences between the 34 RAs in the network that come out through this data. Continue reading

10 Questions or Less for Cindy Frantz

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,  Cindy Frantz, Communications Director at North Carolina Network of GrantmakersIf you would like to suggest someone for a profile through 10 Questions or Less, contact Dan Brady.

What would you say was the most popular member program by North Carolina Network of Grantmakers this year?

The annual meeting continues to be our most popular member event, but this year we’ve also had great success with a series of skills based workshops for emerging leaders and new grantmakers. We’ve used the Essential Skills and Strategies curriculum and are offering each module individually every few months. We have received positive feedback and continued interest, so we have also offered skills based sessions that aren’t included in the ESS curriculum, such as Evaluating Nonprofit Financials, and Conducting Effective Site Visits. One of our seasoned members usually teaches the session which saves on costs and serves as a good opportunity for members to network. This method works well because we’ve found that it easier for folks to get away for a half day than taking two full days out of the office. Continue reading