To assess the outlook for grantmaking in Minnesota in 2013, the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) conducted its 2013 Outlook Report survey in October and November of 2012. The survey asked grantmakers to predict how their 2013 giving will compare to 2012. A total of 104 organizations responded, representing 75 percent of annual grantmaking in the state.
The growing quantity of giving has not been matched by improved quality. The growth in the quantity of new philanthropy and the search for more effective philanthropy has now produced a “significant moment in the marketization of philanthropy.” A recent outpouring of books by foundation officials, consultants and academics has broadly emphasized the idea that “strategic philanthropy” in some form promises significant improvements. With these books, then, do donors, family foundations, and philanthropy generally have new usable knowledge to meet the challenge of quality grantmaking?
With corporate accounting practices under increasing scrutiny, it is important for nonprofit managers and board members to familiarize themselves with financial reports and to understand how they reflect the viability of an organization. Learn about financial statements, understand how to use them, and explore the nuances and implications of financial reporting. Coursework addresses both legal and accounting implications for nonprofit organizations, including government entities, universities, schools and colleges, healthcare providers, and other social service programs. CEU: 2
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
What’s on the agenda for your board this year? Are you covering the bases of good governance? Below, we offer a checklist of annual board to-dos—prepared for foundations that are up and running (not start-ups). *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
These courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field in short order. You’ll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field, to help you work more effectively.
What makes these tools so cool? They were developed and are being used by your community foundation colleagues! And they can help build your community leadership potential. Check out the variety of tools shared by your colleagues to advance community leadership work. Includes: Strategic Plans and Frameworks; Choosing and Timing Community Leadership Opportunities; Diversity and Inclusion; Donor Engagement; and Metrics
This actionable guide to impact investing will help those new to the field get started. It includes definitions, key questions to consider, resources, and case examples from small foundations across asset classes and issue areas. This guide was produced in partnership with Mission Investors Exchange and Arabella Advisors.
By: Chad Gorski, Grants & Finance Coordinator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Understand the goal of the statement analysis and consider the risk assessment needs of your organization: What part of the required due diligence process does it fulfill? How much risk is acceptable? What red flags will impact decision-making? Is a ground-up analysis necessary or can third party info be used? See Project Streamline’s guide on Grant Budgets and Financial Reports, which helps grantmakers think through what information is really needed to make a grant. The Due Diligence Done Well guide from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is also very useful. Understand the Read more
Through this webinar we explore and discuss the basics of Donor Advised Funds (DAF) with a wide range of topics covering: What is a Donor Advised Fund How does a Donor Advised Fund work How does a Donor Advised Fund differ from a Private Family Foundation Starting a Charitable conversation with your clients and Trends
Questions about how much U.S. grantmaking foundations spend on staff, trustees, overhead, and other administrative expenses—and how much is appropriate to spend—are at the forefront of current debates on foundation practices. Over the past several years, stories in the media have spotlighted foundations with questionably high compensation and expenses. In turn, this media scrutiny has prompted action by policymakers to address perceived improprieties. In the foundation field, it has sparked widespread discussion at the national and local levels about what constitutes appropriate practice. Missing from these debates has been adequate information about current practices across a wide spectrum of foundations. Read more
The Council on Foundations’ Foundation Management Series provides foundation boards and staff with the tools needed to benchmark their practices and operations against peers in the field. Containing data from the Council’s 2009 Foundation Management survey, the series consists of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.
What are the characteristics that make organizations vulnerable, from a capitalization point of view? Too much real estate Too much debt “Under Water” balance sheets and negative liquidity Torturous labor economics Any one “horseman” can make an organization more vulnerable in an uncertain, changing economy. But when these horsemen ride together, they can be fatal. This article by Clara Miller explores our sector’s problematic approach to making financial decisions – and what organizations that are in over their heads can do.
Creating a separate but affiliated fundraising organization — a foundation for the purpose of raising funds — is not for every nonprofit. If your board is considering the option, it is important to identify the various challenges and benefits such a foundation might bring with it.
Giving in Minnesota provides a comprehensive analysis of the trends and patterns of giving by organized philanthropy in the state. The report is intended to present the scope of philanthropy in Minnesota to a diverse audience, including nonprofits, the news media, public officials and the general public, as well as to foundations and corporate giving programs. Minnesota Council on Foundations first published Giving in Minnesota in 1976 and has been producing it annually since 1997.
In today’s challenging economic environment, it is imperative that a company’s corporate citizenship program be strategic and tied to business goals while also meeting community needs. A company must maximize the impact of its community investments. Learn how to design and implement a strategic program, including writing a philosophy of giving, determining the giving guidelines, structuring the program, and developing a budget.
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
(Posted by NFF with permission from Americas Quarterly) The rise of impact investing is not inevitable… Most resources and most investors—whether trustees controlling large assets or individuals with smaller personal accounts—remain locked in a traditional approach that limits the social engagement of market forces and business. At the same time, established policies and regulations, educational opportunities, career paths, capital markets, and language all fail to support their aspirations and practices. In fact, most of the time they get in the way. Realizing the full potential of impact investing requires moving beyond the aggregation of a few inspiring anecdotes to build Read more
For many years philanthropy and investing have been thought of as separate disciplines—one championing social change, the other financial gain. The idea that the two approaches could be integrated in the same deals—in essence, delivering a financial return while doing good—struck most philanthropists and most investors as far-fetched. Not anymore.
These first-person accounts from a community foundation’s CEO and the investment advisor provide candid assessments of how they addressed the issue of increasing investment manager diversity. The hope is that by sharing these observations other foundations and their investment advisors will find the courage to discuss and address the issue of investment manager diversity, the hardest taboo to break.
The following article discusses how FMA and The Wallace Foundation are strengthening and improving the quality of afterschool groups in the Chicago area. Provides a snapshot of capacity-building efforts in one community. (FMA is pleased to share this article with the permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)
The purpose of this two-part article is to enable foundations to increase the leverage of their grantmaking resources by working effectively with the dynamics of complex social systems. This article examines how foundations can align planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts with the behavior of the social systems they seek to improve. Asking powerful questions of staff, board, grantees, and other stakeholders helps to transform how they think about their goals and strategies. In addition to using the power of questioning, foundations function more systemically by suspending their assumptions about their effectiveness and what is possible, creating the cultural shifts needed, Read more
As foundations struggle with reduced assets in a still declining economy, what are the considerations regarding the current state of foundations and charitable life span? With a range of strategies to consider, how should foundations approach their asset base? Publications by panelist Francie Ostrower and Arthur Schmidt will frame the discussion.
Immerse yourself in a comprehensive learning experience, and fuel your passion for grantmaking and private philanthropy. Faculty members and guest speakers from across the philanthropic community help you to learn how to give wisely. Explore a variety of funding approaches through presentations, discussions, graded assignments, and problem-solving exercises for groups and individuals. If you are an independent philanthropist, a member of a philanthropic family, or a professional grantmaker with just a few years of experience in grantmaking, this intensive is designed for you.
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
Enjoyment and meaning in giving begin with individual motivations and values. People with wealth share the challenge all human beings face—how to find your own individual way, your own path toward meaning, while also maintaining a connection to family, community and history. You must stand on your own even as you stand in the great and ever-evolving succession of ancestors and descendants. Philanthropy starts with an inward journey—an exploratory mission into the heart and mind.
Since 1994, BoardSource has been conducting the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index, a one-of-a-kind national survey of nonprofit chief executives and board chairs. The Governance Index is the only national survey to gather information from both chief executives and board chairs on their experiences in the boardroom. The Index identifies trends in board composition, policies, and practices as well as provides a detailed view of the challenges nonprofit boards are facing as they conduct their work.
Both proponents and opponents of changes in the laws, regulations, and practices of charitable foundations have the same goal: enhancing public well-being through the best use of charitable resources. In the language of investment, that goal implies maximizing the social return on those assets. Measuring the social return on different types of activities and comparing outcomes or even outputs over time, however, is not so easy. Moreover, the issue of how to treat existing foundation assets and activities cannot be separated from the broader issue of the development of the charitable sector as a whole, including the establishment of new Read more
According to a 2009 Foundation Center report, 12 percent of foundations plan to spend-down their assets, and 63 percent plan to give in perpetuity. What’s surprising is that 25 percent of foundations are undecided. No one likes to dwell on his or her own mortality, but thinking about how you want your philanthropy to be managed after your lifetime is essential.
Impact investing has become a hot topic among donors and financial investors alike. But what does it mean, and why might you consider it as a philanthropic option? Broadly defined, impact investing means investing capital to generate social impact in a way that also provides monetary returns. These returns may vary from the initial principal amount upward (or, potentially, downward), depending on the nature of the investment.
The goal of this guide is to provide foundation trustees and, where or when appropriate, staff with a process to create both an overall policy for mission-related investing as well as specific paths for implementation.
It is not a surprise that we are seeing a growing interest among trustees and foundation leaders in mission-related investing (MRI). With over $600 billion in the endowments of U.S. private foundations, it is logical to consider how these funds can be put to use beyond generating income for grantmaking and begin to be a catalyst for social change via investments in market-driven entities. With this guide, Philanthropy’s New Passing Gear: Mission-Related Investing, plus other research that has been collected on MRI, there is now a strong body of work that can provide donors, trustees, staff of foundations, and the Read more
Foundations that work on national public policy issues face challenges in demonstrating impact. This case study of how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiative to support choice of program provider for developmentally disabled adults uses some advanced statistical techniques to demonstrate the impact of the foundation’s funding. This study suggests that to get the greatest impact on policy change, foundations should consider offering modest competitive grants to governmental departments; spending the funds in regional groupings; and focus on jurisdictions that have demonstrated interest in the policy area by spending their own funds.
Across rural America, people are joining together to do something new and different. They are launching and growing community endowments. Community endowments resemble savings accounts that grow over time. Local residents are using the interest earned on these community endowments—and the local energy and leadership that come from building them—to improve the quality of life for people, organizations and the places they call home. This guide, Rural Fund Development 101, will help you understand the basics of community endowments and how to create one.
This report highlights the important emerging work of leading diversity focused funds, whose efforts are helping to engage grassroots communities of color, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups and other historically disadvantaged populations in U.S. philanthropic giving and decision making processes.
‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’ So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.
Through our research, we have identified 10 nonprofit models that are commonly used by the largest nonprofits in the United States. Our intent is not to prescribe a single approach for a given nonprofit to pursue. Instead, we hope to help nonprofit leaders articulate more clearly the models that they believe could support the growth of their organizations, and use that insight to examine the potential and constraints associated with those models.
Beldon’s decision to establish a clear end date set the course for the foundation’s strategy and operations. Decisions about investment, staffing, programs, and preparing grantees for Beldon’s exit all flowed from the simple fact that an immutable closing date existed on the horizon. This monograph, “Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story” PDF, examines how Beldon handled the practical implications of putting the foundation on a ten-year spend-out course while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission. Some of the questions we sought to answer were: How does having a sunset date affect program strategy? What is the appropriate way Read more
For new and potential board members as well as staff and consultants who are new to working with a board. This program is offered through a series of webinars or through a live course. At the conclusion of this certificate program, you will have gained insights, tools, and materials that further your understanding of nonprofit board governance; developed a network of peers for the exchange of information and mutual support; and examined approaches, assumptions, questions, and practices regarding good governance.
For board chairs seeking practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job. This training program will help you become an exceptional board leader — one who not only understands his or her roles and responsibilities but who also is a generative and strategic thinker; who asks questions and seeks knowledge to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and threats that affect today’s nonprofits; who empowers the board to move forward and build organizational capacity.
For chief executives committed to building a constructive partnership with their board. Whether you are new to the chief executive position or a seasoned leader, you will learn practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of the job, including: Attending to the overall chief executive/board relationship Building relationships with individual board members, including the board chair Engaging board members without inviting them to micromanage Increasing the effectiveness of your board Sharing the good and bad with your board Working effectively with officers and other small groups of the board, such as committees and task groups
One of BoardSource’s best-selling books, The Nonprofit Board Answer Book provides answers to the most-commonly asked questions about governance.This book is a hands-on guide for board members, chief executives, and others who are charged with leading their organizations. Board members will learn how to be more effective in dealing with everyday challenges; chief executives will gain insight into how to build a strong partnership with their board. We include information on topics that have recently increased in importance, including the new Form 990, dealing with the financial crisis, risk management, and strategic partnerships. Designed to be user-friendly, it is written in an Read more
Find detailed guidance on small foundation governance, grantmaking, tax and legal issues, and financial oversight and investments. Our most comprehensive resource for every trustee and board member. Includes: Updates on recent laws affecting small foundations; Sample documents to save you time and money; The requisite information for an effective trustee — all in one place.
What we do and how we serve is inspired by our commitment to create a financially strong nonprofit sector that’s better able to serve the community. Throughout our 30 years, we’ve developed some core concepts and philosophies on nonprofit finance that inform all our practices. Our Top Tens, crafted for both nonprofits and funders, give a concise summary of these concepts. Concepts include: benefits of unrestricted funding, business model and business planning, and knowing your role (as either a buyer or builder) as a funder.
Private foundation trustees and staff oversee countless activities. Several activities—some mandatory, others voluntary—call for additional care. In particular, according to your fellow foundation leaders and the advisors who serve them, missteps happen in conjunction with the following activities more often than elsewhere in foundation work. *This content is available for Exponent Philanthropy members only
This report, funded by the Meyer Foundation, looks at the operating reserves—the cash and other liquid assets—of public charities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Using IRS Form 990 data, the report found that 57 percent had reserves insufficient to cover three months of expenses, a level that many experts consider the minimum necessary for financial stability. This leaves them especially vulnerable to the rapid declines in revenue or increases in expenses that occur in economic downturns like the present. A substantial perecentage of all types and sizes of organizations lacked adequate reserves.
As part of our continuing efforts to help foundations maintain and improve the effectiveness of their work, the Minnesota Council on Foundations has prepared this comprehensive resource to help private, corporate and community/public foundations understand their legal requirements and obligations. This publication and its companion piece, Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations, are key publications in MCF’s Philanthropy & Public Trust series.
For the past twenty-five years or more there has been a groundswell of activity among investment managers institutional investors, consultants and diversity advocates to democratize capital — that is, to create more opportunities for diverse investment professionals and the firms they lead, to manage institutional capital This effort, grounded in both fiduciary and equity principles, has led to the growth of many diverse investment management firms like Progress Investment Management Company LLC (“Progress”) and others. A range of stakeholders now recognizes that democratization of capital brings a range of positive benefits to our industry and society at large
Practical advice for finding a good fit with financial professionals. Writers describe recognizing a disconnect between their values and the values of professionals who may have been inherited with the wealth from the prior generation. Tips for being a good client. Tips for managing financial professionals. Two readers share the unorthodox practices of professionals they depend on, letting readers know that there are alternatives to growing principal and reducing taxes as the goals of wealth management.