Private Philanthropy Update—March 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 4:19 pm
Natalie Ross

Through social movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #NeverAgain, we see people across the world pushing for the change they want to see. As these movements grow and evolve, a common question is what role foundation giving can play in them. How can private foundations support these groups, especially if they are not formally organized? What internal structures or systems can best enable rapid-response grantmaking?

But with our sector facing questions and critiques about power and influence, there is also the growing question of whether foundations even should support, and inevitably influence, social movements.

A new study by Megan Ming Francis at the University of Washington explores this, showing how the Garland Fund influenced the NAACP to move away from a focus on anti-black violence and towards a focus on education and economic opportunity. This analysis highlights an explicit example of the power foundations hold and is an important read for those working across issue areas and geographies.

As we prepare to gather in Miami for our upcoming Leading Together Conference, I’m excited to talk about these big questions of philanthropic influence with many of you, including how the intersection of increasing global inequality and philanthropic capital are influencing important critiques of our sector.

We’ll kick off in Miami with Successful Philanthropy for the Future: Challenging Our Assumptions About Giving to Lead Together, which brings together diverse philanthropic leaders who are challenging our sector to think differently about power, influence, and racial equity. And our closing plenary, Activating Levers of Social Change: Philanthropy, Policy, and Justice, will explore critical issues facing our country and world today, like the opioid crisis and the fight for women’s rights.

With key themes of collaboration and a focus on issues like inclusive economic prosperity, climate resiliency, and bridging divides, I hope you will join us to talk about philanthropy’s future — registration is open now.



Natalie Ross
Vice President, External Relations
Ph.: 703-879-0627

COUNCIL UPDATES - Private Philantrophy

Reimagining Council Membership

2019 is an important year for the Council! As we welcome Kathleen Enright as the Council’s new President & CEO, we are also undertaking a comprehensive review and analysis of Council membership, in order to ensure we are ready to achieve our mission: advancing the work of our members and the philanthropic sector.

So far, more than 350 philanthropic leaders have completed our Reimagining Council Membership survey. Do you agree that Legal Services and Resources are the most valuable Council member benefit? How do you think we should calculate member dues — by asset size? By grantmaking amount? I hope you’ll complete the survey before it closes on March 5th.

You can also email us with comments or to volunteer for an upcoming focus group. We are committed to a transparent process with decisions informed by diverse perspectives —add your voice now.

 We Moved!

Effective February 19th, the Council on Foundations’ offices are now located at 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20037. All Council staff phone numbers will remain the same.

We have space to host members, so please let us know when you’re in DC and stop by to see our new space!   


Post-Graduation Scholarships: What Are They and How Can You Use Them? March 6 | 3:00 PM ET
FREE for Members / $59 for Non-Members

Last year, the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act was introduced in Congress. If you’re interested in alleviating the student loan debt crisis and attracting needed talent to your community, join us to hear about how new legislation could help your foundation address the growing student debt crisis.


In-Person Events

Register now for our new 2019 legal workshops, designed specifically for private and corporate foundations.

We’ll discuss common legal questions for administering grants, board governance and charitable giving activities and provide technical and practical understanding of complex rules and regulations impacting private foundations.

We’ll be in Philadelphia in March 7th (only a few seats remain!) and in Los Angeles on June 6th.




Changing the Narrative and Building Power: A Muslim American Fund Takes the Long View, via Inside Philanthropy

Nonprofits and Foundations Are Unintentionally Promoting Racism: Here’s How to Stop, via Chronicle on Philanthropy

Candid: The Foundation Center/GuideStar Merger's Noteworthy Process, via Nonprofit Quarterly

New Competition for a $100 Million Grant: Round Two of 100&Change, via MacArthur Foundation

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on all

Related Events

Related Resources