Community Philanthropy Update - May 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 3:00 pm
Kathleen Enright

Volunteering has always been important to me, but as I volunteer more regularly with my 10-year-old daughter, I am reminded that volunteering transforms those who serve just as much as the causes they support. Volunteering expands our perspectives. It provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It even makes us happy. And if AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith has anything to say about it, service will help unite America.

This week, I had the pleasure of participating in a Council webinar co-sponsored by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, where Michael Smith shared his vision for the agency, the ways that AmeriCorps is working to decrease polarization, and the importance of engaging the philanthropic sector to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. Michael is a steadfast friend of the philanthropic community – prior to his role at AmeriCorps, he held roles at the Case and Obama Foundations as well as the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Michael pointed out that people aren’t coming together in the places and spaces we once did. In our changing environments, the power of service is one of our most valuable tools to bring people together and nurture the civic leadership that our communities need for tomorrow.

He highlighted important ways that philanthropy can help, including:

  • Increasing equity by reducing barriers to service, particularly for those from low-income backgrounds, by providing matching dollars to make stipends a living wage or subsidizing travel, education, or other benefits
  • Increasing nonprofit access by reducing barriers for grantees
  • Including AmeriCorps and other federal agencies as partners in innovation and impact

As Tyra Mariani, President of the Schultz Family Foundation, put it during the webinar: “Where states and agencies may be less able to fund risky ideas, philanthropy can. By combining philanthropic funds with AmeriCorps dollars, the amount of human capital flowing into communities is amplified.”

I know that many of you share the same motivation to serve your community. Thank you for all you do.



Kathleen Enright
President & CEO

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Community Foundation CEO Virtual Roundtable
May 24
Are you curious about cryptocurrency, but not sure where to start? Both member and non-member community foundation executives are invited to attend a peer roundtable conversation about crypto-philanthropy.
Register Now >>

Getting Started with Values-Aligned Philanthropy for Community Foundations
June 21

Building on the work of the Council's 2021 white paper, Values-Aligned Philanthropy: Foundations Resisting Hate and Extremism, this webinar will offer information and how-tos for community foundations. Join us to learn about community foundation anti-hate and values-aligned policies, discuss the issue with your peers, and get guidance for using our new toolkit, launching June 13. 
Register Now >>

Legal Matters for Community Foundations
August 23 and 24

Led by the Council on Foundations Legal Team, this workshop is flexibly organized to ensure that your broad legal questions for administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities are addressed. The legal team will provide a technical and practical understanding of complex rules and regulations.
Register Now >>

2022 Human Resources Retreat: Evolving the Philanthropic Workplace
September 8

Join us at the 2022 HR Retreat to hear from inspiring HR and culture leaders, engage in robust peer-to-peer learning, and build community through a dynamic exchange of thoughts and ideas. Early bird registration rates are available to Council members until June 10!
Register Now >>

Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals
October 12-13 and 19-20

Well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This traditionally in-person, two-day course (adapted to four virtual half-day sessions) helps new and growing community foundation staff build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management with the broader understanding of community foundations within the philanthropic sector. This course sells out quickly - reserve your spot today!
Register Now >>

Member Week Events

Visit to learn more about the Council's Member Week, including a full list of the planned programming.

Grantmaker Ethics and Accountability
June 14

This session will: encourage you to reflect on how the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion can inform ethical decision-making; enable you to understand to whom and to what you are accountable in your work; and provide you with practical tools and step-by-step guidance in navigating ethical problems.
Register Now >>

Legal Office Hours for CFs
June 16

Council attorneys Ben McDearmon and Remy Barnwell will host Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations. This members-only Q&A discussion will address your legal questions, trends in community philanthropy, and the latest concerns around foundation best practices. Members may submit questions at any time to
Register Now >>

Rebuilding Trust in Nonprofits and Philanthropy
June 16
How does declining trust in institutions affect our ability as nonprofit organizations to make social change? Could it impact charitable giving? Lead to new governmental regulations? Or make it difficult to build the kinds of partnerships that advance our work? And what can and should philanthropy do to rebuild that trust? Learn the answers to these questions and more at this webinar, co-sponsored by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Register Now >>

Member Spotlight


The Columbus Foundation

To close the racial wealth gap in Columbus, OH, the Columbus Foundation has launched the Equitable Small Business Fund, which increases access to capital for entrepreneurs of color -- especially Black-owned businesses. The goal of the fund is to make an average of 10 investments of $500,000 that build capacity for small businesses run by people of color.


Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Shannon Polk is the new President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. In a radio interview (transcribed), she shares her leadership vision, her process for determining funding priorities, and which of Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings meant the most to her as a child. Welcome, Shannon!


Have a story of impact you want to share? Email us at

News & Resources

Currently Recruiting: Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals Faculty

The Council is seeking new voices to bring in as faculty for the Community Foundation Excellence (CFE) Fundamentals course. Appealing to a broad audience of new and growing community foundation staff, CFE Fundamentals builds essential skills that balance governance and management with a broader understanding of community foundations within the philanthropic sector. We are looking for experienced community foundation leaders, eager to share their expertise and connect with others in the field. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please email Jill Gordon, Manager of Training.

Trending Philanthropy Exchange Conversations

Legal Question of the Month with Ben McDearmon, Staff Counsel

Question: Are there any prohibitions on a Type 1 supporting organization granting money to a private operating foundation?

ben-mcdearmon-2018-500x500Answer: Granting to a private operating foundation is likely not a permissible activity by a supporting organization.

A supporting organization must be operated "exclusively for the benefit of, to perform the functions of, or to carry out the purposes of one or more" supported organizations (the “operational test” under Sec. 509(a)(3)(A)). Whether this means the supporting organization can only make grants to its supported organization is not entirely clear under the Treasury Regulations and other guidance on supporting organizations, but what is generally understood is that if a grant is made to an unrelated organization, it must constitute a grant to an individual member of the charitable class served by the supported organization rather than to the unrelated organization itself. Even in that case we’re likely only talking about other public charities.

Grants from a supporting organization to a private foundation would almost certainly cause the supporting org to fail the operational test described above. One example in the Treasury Regulations provides that a supporting organization fails the operational test by making a small annual grant to a private foundation that performs a particular function that assists in the overall aid program carried on by the grantor's supported organization, which is the strongest evidence available that grants to private foundations are not permitted by a supporting organization.

Council members are encouraged to send any legal inquiries to

News and Resources

  • Wildfires continue to ravage New Mexico in what President Biden has declared a major disaster. Access a list of resources compiled by the Council to learn how you can help.
  • Nicole Taylor had a difficult rebuilding job to do when she assumed the role of CEO at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in 2018. Read her interview with Alliance magazine to see how she tackled the challenge.
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on all
Community Philanthropy Updates