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Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing

Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations are thrilled to welcome you to the Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing: Reflections from the Field and Resources for Moving Forward. We are delighted that you are reading this Field Guide and discovering all the resources and connections that it has to offer community foundations interested in learning about, designing, and activating an impact investing program.





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Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

The philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more





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2015 CONNECT Conference

Take a leap forward in your philanthropic journey. Whether you’re looking to challenge your assumptions or hungry for practical knowledge, CONNECT offers something meaningful for everyone. Find inspiration in sessions that explore innovative strategies for advancing philanthropic impact or immerse yourself in sessions on philanthropy’s fundamentals. Strengthen your effectiveness, get inspired, and build community. In an intimate setting, CONNECT offers a safe, empowering space to build critical skills and knowledge while forming real, lasting relationships with peers and other experts. We bring together our welcoming staff, field thought leaders and expert partners to facilitate connections and weave networks through a Read more





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Master Juggler Executive Institute

Leadership development for foundation executives June 21-December 30, 2015 At Exponent Philanthropy, we know some things about you. You are committed to serving your foundation, your board, and your community. You make it a priority to leverage the most from your time and money. And you often put others first, not always getting around to investing in yourself and your professional development. With you in mind, we developed the Master Juggler Executive Institute, a carefully crafted 6-month program for those in the most senior staff role at their foundations. Program Highlights A unique opportunity for executive directors/CEOs and the foundations Read more





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Celebrating 100 Years of Community Foundations: Stories and Lessons from 35 Years of Supporting the Community Foundation Field

The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation in the U.S. This milestone brings with it both increased attention to the field of community philanthropy and the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of these institutions to the communities they serve. The goal of this microsite is to share what the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has learned in more than 35 years of supporting the field, offer key insights, and highlight our legacy of partnering with community foundations in a way that advances the vital work they do to strengthen their communities.  





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What’s Next for Community Philanthropy?

The world is changing rapidly. Inescapable demographic, technological, economic, environmental, and social trends are reshaping our communities and altering the landscape of philanthropy. Keeping pace will be a challenge for community philanthropy: in today’s rapidly changing context, the systems that are helping community philanthropy organizations thrive right now may not meet the needs of their users in the future. Yet the status quo is not an option. Place by place, community philanthropy organizations will need to figure out what to hold onto, what to let go of, and what to create a new to better meet the evolving needs of Read more





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The Education Collaboration Fund: Possibilities and Limitations of Pooled Funds

Raising money for a pooled fund is time consuming and requires expertise with the funding topic and the target audience. Yet the process of shopping around a pooled fund or collaborative concept can be valuable in its own right, even if most do not participate. Shared interest around a topic or community is a necessary but insufficient reason for participating in a pooled fund. A pooled fund provides an opportunity for individuals and family foundations to learn and grow as donors. Someone with passion, organizational skills, and persistence needs to drive the process forward or it will likely fall by Read more





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Investigating the Roles of Community Foundations in the Establishment and Sustainability of Local College Access Networks in Michigan

Community foundations have a long history of supporting college access, particularly through the management of scholarship programs. This article examines the role of community foundations in the creation and establishment of local college access networks (LCAN) across the state of Michigan. We use the collective impact model as a framework to examine the roles of community foundations in the creation and development of LCANs. Our findings illustrate that community foundations have played a variety of roles, from fundraising to convening to cheerleading. The success of the community-foundation approach to LCAN development is evident both in the interviews conducted and the Read more





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Community Foundation Handbook: What You Need to Know

This guide introduces community foundation CEOs and their staff to the spectrum of choices available to them in the different aspects of their work: governance, management, administration, resource development, donor relations, grantmaking, community leadership, communication, marketing, and more. Although written primarily for staff, the chapters are broad enough that board members and volunteers will find them valuable. For newcomers, this handbook will serve as a comprehensive orientation. For seasoned staff it provides a useful refresher.





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Center for Community Foundation Excellence Series

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.





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National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

The Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™. – See more at: http://www.cof.org/content/national-standards-us-community-foundations#sthash.X8jvRu5S.dpuf





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Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation

Recognizing that few guideposts existed for community foundations that want to be intentional about building their skills and aligning their organizations for community leadership, a group of philanthropy leaders – the National Task Force on Community Leadership – created this Framework. Built from actual community leadership experiences, it is the first effort to bring clarity to the practice of community leadership by community foundations. It allows community foundations to take stock, analyze options, develop strategies, and measure progress. It is a necessary first—and giant—step in creating a practical knowledge base.





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Foundations for Civic Impact: Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit for Community Foundations

This toolkit is a collaborative project of Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI), CFLeads, Council on Foundations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It provides provide practical advice and essential knowledge to help community foundations integrate public policy practices into their everyday leadership work to achieve greater community impact.





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Community Leadership Tools – CooL Tools

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





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Community Leadership Stories

Leadership in Action Stories provide insight into how community foundations are approaching their community leadership work and putting the community leadership building blocks into practice. These stories illustrate the pathways and elements contained in the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation.





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Community Leadership Network Evaluation — Key Findings from a Survey of Participants

This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of the Community Leadership Network, a signature CFleads learning opportunity. It makes the case for why peer learning matters: practitioners learn best when they are able to hone and practice their leadership skill in environments that encourage peer learning and exchange.





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Community Leadership Framework Toolbox

A tool for community foundations for using the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation. It can help your community foundation: Understand community leadership Assess your community leadership strengths and challenges Plan new community leadership work Analyze past and current community leadership efforts.







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CFLeads Executive Leadership Institute

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) is a one-year intensive learning opportunity tailored specifically for community foundation CEOs to strengthen their ability to step into complex leadership roles in their communities. Through three, small group, face-to-face meetings supplemented by one-on-one coaching, it is designed to strengthen CEO leadership skills and relationships. With a focus on challenging CEOs in positive ways in a supportive peer environment, the Institute is designed to stimulate creativity and inspire “out of the box” thinking. The initial ELI cohort will consist of 15 community foundation leaders drawn from a pool of CEOs from community foundations in older Read more





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Case Study: Greater Milwaukee Foundation: Built for Leadership

Embedded in this case study are three Cool Tools that community foundations can access via the click of a mouse: Milwaukee’s “Good to Great” strategic plan Criteria for selecting leadership projects Metrics used to assess the Foundation’s leadership efforts Read the case study to learn more about: Building a board for leadership Operating from a values base Aligning staff Engaging donors and other co-investors Funding community leadership Increasing impact





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Case Study: Central Minnesota Community Foundation: Creating a Community Leadership Compass

Creating a Community Leadership Compass is a case study that describes the Central Minnesota Community Foundation’s transformative path into community leadership work. It looks at how the board and staff worked together to create a vision and framework for community leadership and at early community leadership efforts. It also includes criteria developed by the foundation for embarking on community leadership projects.





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Board Self-Assessment for Community Foundations

A community foundation board has a particular responsibility to identify emerging issues in its community, set funding goals or priorities accordingly, and determine when or if the foundation should act as a leader and convenor. BoardSource’s board self-assessment tool for community foundations is designed to meet the unique needs of a community foundation board by assisting in strengthening the board’s governance practices as well as its ability to respond appropriately as opportunities and challenges arise within its community. It is based on BoardSource’s standard BSA and includes questions on grantmaking and community leadership, funding and public image, and stewardship and Read more





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Board Recruitment Center

BoardSource members and nonmembers alike can access BoardSource’s Board Recruitment Center to find out how to effectively recruit board members. Building a board is about finding leaders who have skill sets and perspectives that align with an organization’s strategies, goals, and needs. It is also about having the right blend of skill sets, expertise, community connections, diverse perspectives, and spheres of influence across the board as a whole. BoardSource members can take advantage of free board recruitment job postings on LinkedIn’s new Volunteer Marketplace.This new board posting service allows nonprofits to find the highly qualified and enthusiastic people needed to Read more





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The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives

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





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Understanding the Strategic Decision-Making Behavior of Community Foundation Boards

How do community foundation boards employ strategies that allow them to remain responsive to multiple constituencies (grantors, grantees, community representatives and providers of fiduciary oversight) while steering their organizations with accountability and authority? In March 2004, with a grant from the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund and additional support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, BoardSource and Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs set out to answer that question.





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The Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Board Chairs

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.





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Public Foundations Can Lobby

501(c)(3) public charities, including grantmaking public charities like community foundations and women’s foundations, can lobby within the generous limits allowed by federal law. This fact sheet explains the lobbying rules for public foundations.





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Consumers Guide to Integrated Software for Community Foundations

GMN is pleased to share the Consumers Guide to Integrated Software for Community Foundations with you. The report was developed by Idealware with support from GMN and the Technology Affinity Group. The Guide looks at the features and processes used by five different integrated software solutions to help community foundations and donor-advised funds manage funds, track grants throughout their life cycles, solicit donations, provide online support for donor advised funds, and tracking accounting data. We hope you find this helpful in your work and will share it with your colleagues. It compares the strengths and weaknesses of the packages, showing Read more





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Promoting Community Leadership Among Community Foundations: The Role of the Social Capital Benchmark Survey

Faced with increased competition for donors and calls for measurable impact, many community foundations (CFs) are adopting a more proactive, strategic approach to philanthropy – one that has come to be known as “community leadership.” Community leadership has proven challenging for many CFs. In theory, community assessment is a useful tool allowing CFs to identify strategic issues where leadership activities are warranted. This article examines the effect of a large, coordinated assessment project, the 2000 Social Capital Benchmark Survey (SCBS), conducted by Robert Putnam and the Saguaro Seminar at Harvard University. Of the 34 CFs that participated in SCBS, 12 Read more





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Good Neighborhoods, Good Schools, and The Skillman Foundation’s Strategy for Place‐based Change

This Foundation-commissioned white paper gives an overview and topline analysis of Good Neighborhoods, Good Schools, and the Skillman Foundation’s strategy for place‐based change. It provides background on the thinking behind the Foundation’s efforts and the context in which they occurred; synthesizes evaluators’’ findings on the successes and challenges that the Foundation encountered in that work between 2006‐2011; suggests opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the second half of the Good Neighborhoods decade; and makes observations about the Foundation’s work that may have implications for the broader field of place‐based change.





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Community Leadership Networks Summary

As part of a multi-tiered effort to advance knowledge and understanding of community leadership, the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundations Leadership Team, in partnership with CFLeads, launched action-oriented Community Leadership Networks. Learn more about these networks here.