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We’ve Moved!

New Site

The Forum’s Forum blog is now part of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers website at!

You’ll see the blog on our homepage as “Recent News.” If you want to see all news items, go to


The Power of Partnership: Cutting-edge Partnerships, Decades in the Making


Guest post by Jane Lowe, Senior Adviser for Program Development, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


For more than two decades, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Local Funding Partnerships (LFP) program has created partnerships with local and regional funders and organizations in communities across the country to address critical health and health care issues. I’ve served as LFP’s program officer for the past 14 years, and work closely with LFP’s National Program Director Polly Seitz, former chair of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and a past Forum board member.

With the program in its final year of operation, we celebrate the hundreds of partnerships that have improved the health of communities across the US, not the least of which is our relationship with the Forum’s regional association members. Over the years, we’ve networked with the Forum, Grantmakers in Health, and other affinity groups— you’ve spread the word about our call for proposals, and we’ve presented at your conference sessions with local funders about cutting edge projects. Thank you for modeling collaboration with us. Continue reading

New Forum Website Goes Live in 2014!

HomepageCompleteSoon you’ll be able to connect, learn, and collaborate through a streamlined, improved!

While the KM Initiative continues to be praised by the technology field for its innovation and more and more regional association sites launch on the platform each week, Forum staff have been hard at work preparing our own site for launch in early 2014.

The new site will offer enhanced features such as:

  • Clear, intuitive navigation to the resources you want
  • Advanced search engine with results filtering
  • Related news, resources, and events in the sidebar of content to point you to similar items of interest
  • An enhanced user profile with customized access to resources and events that match your interest
  • Access to secure, private materials for groups and committees
  • A revamped, robust Knowledgebase of grantmaker resources
  • A searchable member directory of organizations and contacts

All this on a responsive design that optimizes for your device, at your desk or on the go!

Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to launch!

Top 5 Philanthropy Reads of 2013

Race for RelevanceEach year we ask regional associations staff to recommend their “bests”—best programs, best speakers, best mistakes, and so on. Below are the top 5 reads in philanthropy of 2013 according to our members.

Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations and Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations by Harrison Coerver & Mary Byers, CAE

Race for Relevance proposes five radical changes for associations to undergo, in order to remain relevant in today’s marketplace. Complementing Race, Road to Relevance outlines five strategies to make an association rise above its competition, using case studies and provocative questions to demonstrate implementation.

With Charity for All: Why Charities are Failing and a Better Way to Give by Ken Stern

Stern reveals the fallbacks of nonprofit organizations, in a sector with little accountability and an extremely low barrier to entry. Still, he sees hope for widespread reform in a growing movement toward increased effectiveness among American charities.

The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle by Ann Goggins Gregory & Don Howard, Stand Social Innovation Review

Gregory and Howard identify a cycle in which funders have unrealistic expectations of a nonprofit’s need. This causes the nonprofit to withhold critical overhead spending and misrepresent their costs, thus feeding the funder’s distorted beliefs. The authors call on funders and nonprofit leaders alike to get a better understanding of real infrastructure needs and put an end to the cycle of nonprofit starvation.

Red Hook Autumn: Losing and Gaining Power During the Disaster by Lisa Cowan, Philanthropy New York’s Smart Assets Blog

Based in New York, the Red Hook Initiative serves the youth living in the NYC Housing Authority Red Hook houses and unintentionally became a hub for disaster relief in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. RHI Board President Lisa Cowan recounts how the organization’s skills were put to the test, as staff and volunteers went above and beyond their usual roles in order to meet the needs of the community.

The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox by Robert Penna, Ph.D.

Penna identifies outcome-based tools- often borrowing from approaches in the corporate sector- to help nonprofit, philanthropic, and governmental organizations achieve desired results and, ultimately, increase effectiveness.

Photo from ASAE.

Regional Associations Spread the Word on #GivingTuesday


Now that Thanksgiving is over, don’t forget about Giving Tuesday- a day devoted to giving back!  Started as a way to promote charitable giving at the start of the holiday season, #GivingTuesday is a day to celebrate providing support to nonprofit organizations and regional associations are organizing their local funders to increase impact.

 After three days devoted to shopping- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday- Minnesota Council on Foundations shares why #GivingTuesday is a refreshing change of pace.

Philanthropy Ohio reports that over 4,000 nonprofits, corporations, and individuals will participate in Giving Tuesday, a dramatic increase from the2,500 at last year’s inaugural event.

This year, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers has joined the partnership #BMoreGivesMore in a local campaign to make Baltimore the “Most Generous City in the Nation”.  ABAG CEO Celeste Amato offers tips for local businesses to get involved:  “Encourage giving on Dec. 3 by matching employee donations, planning a day of service and motivating your team to announce their commitment over social media.”

As Florida Philanthropic Network anticipates #GivingTuesday, it created a Facebook event to spread the word on social media.

Donors Forum (IL) is using #GivingTuesday as a platform to advocate for real talk about real costs, as demonstrated by this short video.

Be sure to spread the word today, December 3, and share where you donate using #GivingTuesday .


Photo from #GivingTuesday.

Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers 2013 Annual Meeting

WRAG 2013 Annual MeetingLast Thursday, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG) hosted its annual meeting at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the meeting was “Philanthropy Unsettled”— challenging oneself to think beyond tradition and familiarity. 

WRAG President Tamara Copeland spoke about the topic of affordable housing, an area in which WRAG has been developing exemplary programming over the past few years.  Copeland emphasized that having a home is a crucial factor cross-cutting many other issues, such as transportation, education, and health care. Featured speaker Julie Rogers, CEO & President of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, spoke of the challenges that Washington, D.C., faces as the population continues to grow.  She urged funders to see human need, see action, and see larger trends in the philanthropy world.

Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., President & CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation gave a provocative keynote address, challenging nonprofits and foundations to not only contribute resources, but also be change agents. But, Dr. Carson said, if real change is going to occur, the field of philanthropy needs to become more transparent.

For more on WRAG’s affordable housing programs and continuing discussions from its Annual Meeting, follow WRAG’s blog, The Daily WRAG, and get all the latest updates on Twitter.

Delaware Valley Grantmakers Is Now Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

Philanthropy Network Greater Phila logo

At its fall conference on November 15, Delaware Valley Grantmakers announced their new organization name, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. Watch a two-minute animated video introducing their new name.

Philanthropy Network feels its new name is a better representation of the way philanthropy works together in their region.  As the nonprofit sector has grown and diversified, the term “philanthropy” has become mainstream.  In the 25 years that the organization was Delaware Valley Grantmakers, there has been more emphasis on achieving outcomes and collaboration.

“As philanthropy and our region have evolved, we concluded that the time was right to take on a new name and graphic look that better  reflects the full breadth and energy of the people and organizations active in philanthropy in Greater Philadelphia,” said Debra A. Kahn, Executive Director of Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia .

The organization has also introduced a new tag line, “Smarter Giving, Greater Good,” to sum up their central tenets.

Philanthropy Network will continue to foster connections and collaborations to enhance the impact of local philanthropy, as it brings funders together with civic leaders, government, and community organizations to address areas of mutual interest.

On December 3, Philanthropy Network will launch their twitter handle, @philanthropyPHL, also the Philadelphia region’s giving day, #GivingTuesdayPHL .

Learn more about the name change and Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.

Photo from Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia.