Category Archives: foundation

Social Pioneers? We Think So, Too.

This is a guest post by Daniel Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation.  This post was originally published on the blog “LS&Co. Unzipped” on July 13, 2011.  It is re-posted here with Mr. Lee’s permission.

When you’re in this line of work, pushing for equality for all, you know a pioneer when you see one.

The Levi Strauss Foundation started its Pioneers in Justice initiative last year, setting out to support five of the most dynamic, next-generation leaders in the social justice field — a field advocating for equal rights and opportunities for women, immigrants and other marginalized groups in the United States.

Now, the largest newspaper in Northern California, the San Francisco Chronicle, has featured three of our Pioneers as leaders who are taking on “some of the most challenging issues facing our society” today. The newspaper named Abdi Soltani, Arcelia Hurtado and Vincent Pan among its Changemaker class of 2011.

We applaud our hometown paper for shining the spotlight on the committed and courageous work of Abdi, Arcelia and Vincent and the organizations they lead: American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Equal Rights Advocates and Chinese for Affirmative Action, respectively.

Check out what the Chronicle has to say about them here, or take a moment to see them in action below.

To learn more about how Pioneers in Justice supports these leaders as they retool social justice movements and use the power of networks and social media to advance justice click here.

It’s your loyalty to the Levi’s®, Dockers®, and Denizen™ brands that allows the Levi Strauss Foundation to support pioneering leaders who take on the issues and events of our time and foster access to justice for all. For that, we thank you.

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36 Terrific Blog Posts Covering the 2011 Council on Foundations Conference

The Philanthropy411 Blog Team recently covered the Council on Foundations Annual Conference, as well as some of the pre-conference affinity group events such as Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Annual Meeting and the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy National Conference. Below please find a list of and links to all posts published for this event.  The Council on Foundations also had a blog team, and you should definitely check out their blog coverage too.

1. Your Blog Team at Council on Foundations 2011
By: Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting

2. EPIP Provides Support and Opportunity for Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy
by Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.

3. Mutual Frontiers: Social Change, Storytelling and the Blogosphere
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

4. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 1
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

5. Fountain of Youth
by Richard Woo, CEO, of The Russell Family Foundation

6. Letter to COF Conference Attendees
by Holly Wolfe, Environmental Sustainability Program Associate at The Russell Family Foundation

7. Three Examples and a Prize
by Daniel Silverman, Communications Director at the James Irvine Foundation

8. Promoting Intergenerational Leadership & Racial Justice in Philanthropy
by Sterling Speirn, President and CEO of the WK Kellogg Foundation

9. How AAPIP is Building Democratic Philanthropy
by Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer at The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

10. Advancing the Next Generation: EPIP’s Impact on Philanthropy
by Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, Inc.

11. What Gives?
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

12. The Multiplier Effect: Invest in Fundraising
by Roger Doughty, Executive Director of the Horizons Foundation

13. Gratitude and Wonder in Philly
by Rob Collier, CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations.

14. Get Some Sleep!
by Ash McNeely, Executive Director of the Sand Hill Foundation

15. Nonprofits, Social Media, and ROI
by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica.

16. Go See the Murals!
by Daniel Silverman, Communications Director at the James Irvine Foundation

17. Committee Orientation
by Mark E. Neithercut, founder and principal at Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors

18. Trust is Cheaper than Control: Social Media Adoption Challenges
by Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and co-founder and partner of Zoetica

19. Caught in the Headlights
by Christi Tran, Program Officer for Blue Shield Against Violence at the Blue Shield of California Foundation

20. Gardens Inspire “Roots to Reentry”
by Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer at The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

21. D5 Initiative – Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
by Roger Doughty, Executive Director of the Horizons Foundation

22. Be at the Policy Table (or be on the Menu)
by Robert Eckardt, Executive Vice President of The Cleveland Foundation

23. Grits Ain’t Groceries. They’re Hope.
by Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner of The 360 Group

24. Spending Up, Spending Down, Spending Out: Alternatives To Perpetuity
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

25.  Another Multiplier Effect: Invest in Talent Development – Part One
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

26. Another Multiplier Effect: Invest in Talent Development – Part Two
by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation

27. Philanthropy and Pluralism: Diversity That Does Not Divide
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

28. Conference Theme Should Unify and Call Us To Action
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

29. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 2
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

30. Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 3
by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation

31. Fabulous Plenaries at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference
by Lee Draper, President of the Draper Consulting Group

32. Law and Dis-Order
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

33. The Experiences of An Emerging Leader at National Philanthropy Conferences
by Maisha Simmons, Program Associate at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

34. Reflections from a Millennial
by Chanelle Gandy, Program Associate at The Funders’ Network

35. Leadership Under Duress
by Richard Woo, CEO of The Russell Family Foundation

36. 3 Lessons on Evaluation in Foundations
by Mayur Patel, Vice President of Strategy and Assessment at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

How AAPIP is Building Democratic Philanthropy

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Danielle M. Reyes, Senior Program Officer at The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

by Danielle M. Reyes

There were no scrambled eggs at this live-streamed* breakfast meeting.  This morning more than 100 community leaders, giving circle grantees, friends, and members of Asian Americans Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) convened over Dim Sum for AAPIP’s Annual Membership Meeting and Community Program.  In addition to dumplings and egg rolls, attendees were treated to, and hopefully inspired by, presentations from numerous and diverse voices from this growing network.  In fact, more than 25 chapter co-chairs and representatives presented during this morning’s meeting, in addition to a panel of local funders who discussed Philadelphia’s fastest growing community – Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.

The format of this meeting speaks to AAPIP’s effort to build democratic philanthropy through its philanthropic advocacy and community philanthropy programs and members, many of whom participate in a robust and active network of regionally based chapters and giving circles throughout the country.

From Boston to Minnesota to Silicon Valley, AAPIP chapter co-chairs reported that they had organized activities on topics ranging from increasing API participation on nonprofit boards, to addressing health disparities in the API community.  They conducted mentoring programs for foundation staff and collaboratied locally with joint affinity group partners.  In addition to chapter updates, we heard of more than $100,000 in grants made by AAPIP affiliated giving circles, which have now grown to 14 circles across the country.

For me, AAPIP’s chapters and affiliated giving circles represent a decentralized community-based movement in philanthropy – and just writing that gets me excited!  AAPIP is not only raising awareness of the needs of API communities in the United States and the lack of philanthropic resources allocated to these communities.  It is engaging individuals on a professional and personal level to not only connect philanthropic resources to API communities, but take an active role in creating those resources.

“Giving Circles are the most empowered place to be,” said Peggy Saika, executive director of AAPIP, during her closing statements. “We’re not waiting for anyone else to decide what is needed. We come together, we decide, and we give!”

Truth and evidence of this sentiment was repeated again and again as attendees addressed the group.  Daniel Jae-Won Lee, executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation and new member of the Council of Foundation’s board of directors noted that he was not only a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of AAPIP, but a proud personal donor of the Lunar Giving Circle.  Gayle Isa, executive director of the Asian Arts Initiative spoke of the value of being a grantee as well as  the importance of being a personal donor of the Asian Mosaic Fund Giving Circle here in Philadelphia.   I, too, am proud to have served as a co-chair of the Washington, DC /Baltimore Chapter, chair of AAPIP’s national board of directors, and to have been a founding donor of the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle in DC.

In this way, AAPIP really is building democratic philanthropy, member by member, chapter by chapter, giving circle by circle, community by community.  It’s a philanthropic movement about people, and – like giving circles – it’s power comes not from being linear, but being circular.

As the field of philanthropy seeks to innovate, grow, influence, and inform, there is much to be learned from AAPIP’s social justice work.   I, for one, think dumplings and democracy go very well together.*the live-stream was made possible with support from Bank of America

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Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Promoting Intergenerational Leadership & Racial Justice in Philanthropy

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Sterling Speirn, President and CEO of the WK Kellogg Foundation.

by Sterling Speirn

It was a “hit the ground running” morning yesterday when I joined the national conference of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) for a panel awesomely choreographed by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation. I wish that I, lo those many years ago when I was entering the field, had been able to hear the stories and passions for social justice that Sherece West, Urvashi Vaid and Sandy Vargas shared with the EPIP conference attendees.  Their good questions asked during the salon covered so much ground.  The event was a perfect example of what Ambassador Jim Joseph urged the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) audience last night to promote: more intergenerational leadership programs.  Much more on his amazing talk below.

Promoting racial equity and racial justice was one abiding theme that got started at the EPIP session and kept pulsing all day for me.  Even when my wife Diana and I raced out in the early afternoon to see the Barnes Foundation art collection for one last time at its original home in Merion, PA before it moves downtown next year, the audio tour reminded me that,  “Dr. Albert Barnes had an eclectic sense of aesthetics and a lifelong commitment to equal rights.”  He worked closely with John Dewey, was passionate about democracy and education and believed that “using the arts to educate would help solve the country’s race problem.” Who knew Cezanne and Matisse would be our allies in this work??

Fast forward to the amazing events that unfolded at ABFE’s 40th anniversary – an evening of awards, lecture, reunion and celebration. We see a lot of big city Mayors welcoming us to COF events, but Mayor Michael Nutter took it to a whole new level.  He started by recommending that ABFE change its name to BFCBM, standing for “Black Folks in Charge of a whole Bunch of Money!”

From humor he went straight to the heart, and shared the transformative experience he had as a participant in the emerging leaders program that Jim Joseph created and has been leading for many years now.  This was the crucible of personal renewal that led to his decision to run for Mayor’s seat in Philadelphia.  And in the City of brotherly love—and sisterly affection, he added—this Mayor loves his city.  Among all his achievements, it was inspiring to hear that later this week he would be announcing the creation of the Mayor’s “Commission on African-American Males!”

And then it was truly an historical moment to hear Ambassador Jim Joseph give the Jim Joseph lecture.  All the four intelligences he urged us to develop—emotional, social, moral and spiritual—were portrayed in his remarks.  The history of the creation of ABFE, the values, vision and vitality that the ABFE founders—our honored guests in the front row—cultivated, were framed across three eras: that of confrontation, of competition and collaboration.  The stirring confrontations of the past—from the election in Montreal of five Black trustees to the Board of the Council on Foundations, to the lawsuit filed by the Black United Fund to gain access to the Combined Federal Campaign were stories I had never heard before.  Later the Ambassador would say, “And while confrontation may today be on the back burner, it should never be relegated to the dustbin of history!”   Diversity he said was never meant to be merely the sharing of communal space. “Diversity is the sharing of communal power.”  The advice he gave us was deeply inspirational and I can’t wait to hear his plenary speech at the Council on Foundations conference.

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Fountain of Youth

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Richard Woo, CEO, of The Russell Family Foundation.

by Richard Woo

Tonight a boatload of folks celebrated the ten year birthday of EPIP: Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. I’m serious, it was a boatload because we were singing, dancing and celebrating on an historic clipper ship anchored along the Philadelphia waterfront!

If you’ve been unplugged for the past decade and haven’t yet heard of EPIP, its vision is “of a day when all generations in philanthropy collaborate effectively to build better foundations for a better world”. Its mission is to “develop extraordinary new leaders for foundations to enhance organized philanthropy and it’s impact in communities.” Rusty Stahl, EPIP’s executive director, the national staff, it’s board of directors, and throngs of EPIP members and supporters across the country can feel proud of the progress they’ve made in marching on that mission. The Russell Family Foundation is fortunate to have at least three of our staff of nine attending this year’s EPIP annual conference held in conjunction with the COF conference. I say “at least” because I feel like an EPIP conferee in spirit even though I’ve worked in philanthropy twice as many years as EPIP has existed.

During tonight’s gathering, an EPIP member asked me in all earnestness (for he had just turned 40): “What’s the secret to staying young?” Considering that I’m turning 60 next year I paused a moment, then told him about the workshop I attended earlier today on adaptive leadership for 80 foundation CEO’s and board trustees. The session is a two day pre-conference workshop designed by the Council to help folks “lead in the new normal.” I told the EPIP’er that my board president and I shared a case study from our foundation of an issue that “keeps us awake at night” in front of the rest of the workshop members–after which the audience offered feedback, critiques, and possible solutions. I told my 40 year old EPIP colleague: “Experiencing that kind of transparency and trusting 80 strangers was really scary–but I felt really enlivened by all of the questions, suggestions and differing perspectives offered up. That is the secret to staying young.”

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Bringing A Narrative Eye to Philanthropy – Part 1

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Jorge Cino, Social Media Fellow, at the Levi Strauss Foundation .

by Jorge Cino

“You’re here to connect storytelling to social change,” Daniel Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, bluntly told me during our introductory work meeting in January.

It was a tall order. He believes––as he states on his blog post, “Mutual Frontiers”––that, in the context of social media, storytelling can serve as a handmaiden to advance the Foundation’s goal of communicating its work in original and better ways.

Program staff knew their portfolios were brimming with compelling narratives. They were eager to shine the spotlight on the pioneering work of the foundation’s grantees.

The challenge was how to tell these multifaceted stories in an accessible, succinct and engaging way—no doubt, in a manner that resonates with my “Millennial” peers, who are defining the zeitgeist of the online social marketplace.

We initially held a series of meetings to introduce me to each grant manager’s portfolio. Daniel urged the entire team to attend each session and collaborate on the vetting process.

As the Foundation’s writer, my first charge was to ease the team into “storytelling mode”—in short, to persuade each member to begin talking about their work as they would to family and friends.

In two forthcoming posts, I’ll detail how this project is coming to fruition. Next up, I’ll outline how I helped grant makers parse their portfolios and enter the “mindset” of storytelling.

I would also like to welcome the input, comments, or questions of any and all readers. Is your organization interested in entering the social media space? What are some of the strategies and practices you’re implementing?

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.

Mutual Frontiers: Social Change, Storytelling and the Blogosphere

Philanthropy411, is currently covering the Council on Foundations conference with the help of a blog team.  This is a guest post by Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation.

by Daniel Jae-Won Lee

In my view, the core capability of foundation professionals is the craft of framing. Day in and out, we’re called upon to “make the case” – for a compelling issue or cutting-edge approach (logic models, anyone?), to a particular audience (our donors and boards, for the most part) and for a specific outcome (resource flow: ka-ching!). But we don’t perform the work described in proposals. And the money we disburse is not our own.

We wield metrics, social analysis and stories to advance our cause.  We play the translator, the anthropologist, the sociologist, the statistician, the policy wonk, the lawyer. We emerge as “class commuters”—traversing disparate social, economic and cultural boundaries in the course of a day.

No doubt, storytelling is core to the art of framing.  But if there were a talking “Philanthropy Ken” or “Philanthropy Barbie” doll, it might confess at the tug of a string, “Storytelling is hard.”

Let’s face it:  the technical writing called for in our profession doesn’t lend itself to fluid transposition to the social media landscape.  Amid the zeitgeist of the blogosphere, the language of our grants is dry, wordy and academic. (What’s more, it doesn’t resonate within the visual, tactile culture of a fashion apparel company.)

At the Levi Strauss Foundation, we are keen to share the remarkable stories of our grantees:  casting the spotlight on their pioneering spirit and ambitious change agendas.  We’ve always known there’s a trove of stories in our grant portfolios—but until recently, we’ve lacked the wherewithal to tell them.

While our program managers will wax rhapsodic about the courage and innovation of the pioneers who foster our work around the globe, the charge of capturing this essence in a gripping, accessible manner – all within the scope of 400 words – has proven daunting.

In short, narrative storytelling—while a ‘clincher tool’ in the utility belt of philanthropic framing—calls for a skill set most grantmakers haven’t honed.

We knew we couldn’t go at it alone.  In January, we brought aboard a Social Media Fellow to help us craft pieces about the pioneering work of our grantees for the new corporate blog at Levi Strauss & Co., Unzipped.  A native of Argentina, Jorge Cino is a talented, young creative writer who brings unique acumen – the skills of a storyteller and fluency in the blogosphere—to the task at hand.

Catch a glimpse about how Jorge is working with our grants team and applying the narrative lens to our philanthropy here.

If you found this blog post useful, please subscribe. On Twitter? Follow me @Philanthropy411.

Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.