The Community Foundation Advisory Group: A Recap of 2023 and What’s Next in 2024
As the current Co-Chairs of the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundation Advisory Group, we wanted to reflect on the conversations and issues we have covered over the past year and share some key takeaways with our peers across the sector.
The Advisory Group represents community foundations of varying sizes across the country and plays a crucial role in advising the Council’s programs and initiatives that serve our field, thereby shaping discussions about key issues that we collectively face.
As we look towards 2024, we’re excited to expand the Advisory Group to 20 individuals and have launched a public call for applications to invite seven additional leaders to join our group.
In 2023, we dove into issues such as donor-advised funds and the broader policy landscape on Capitol Hill, informed the Leading Locally 2023 conference programming, and offered insights into issues facing rural communities. We also got tactical on what resources the Council should continue to offer and what it might explore in the future—especially concerning human resources needs, board trainings on DAFs and governance, and disaster and crisis response—issues all of us are grappling with in different ways.
Two main areas of feedback stood out to us as we reflected on the past year:
- Importance of frequent communication: Despite how busy we all are in our day jobs, we discussed how important it is to be in frequent communication with the Council team. We’ve seen great strides over the past few years in how the Council shares its work and interacts with members like us, but there’s always room for improvement. Also, reaching out to Council staff and getting quick responses is an important part of member service.
- Importance of defining scope: The Council has been a lot of things to many people over its 75-year history. For community foundations, we’ve seen ebbs and flows in what the Council prioritizes. The Advisory Group recommended that the Council make it clear where and on what issues it is playing a leadership role for the field, while also clearly sharing where it is a partner, or in the backseat. Policy issues are a great example of where this comes into play.
In 2024, we’re eager to get into the weeds together and continue to shape the Council’s approach to how it serves community foundations, while also seeking concrete ways we can collaborate on shared resources for our field.
As co-chairs, we know that the Council is seeking feedback from the field on its work, but we also know that we can’t possibly represent the full spectrum of community foundations. If you’re an executive, C-suite, or Vice President-level at a community foundation, we hope you’ll consider applying to join the Advisory Group—or reach out to one of us to share what’s top of mind for you this year.
It’s been a pleasure serving the field in this role and we look forward to sharing more about what’s coming up with the Advisory Group throughout 2024.