GCRI Awarded Foundation Openness Grant; Survey Request

GCRI was recently awarded a mini-grant from the Forum and the Fund for Shared Insight to support foundation openness activities in the form of a statewide dialogue.  We will be using the funding for a two-part discussion of “Learning From and With Grantees” in the fall.  As part of the evaluation for this project, Harder+Company Community Research will be conducting a few evaluation activities, including a pre-survey of all of the member foundations in the participating regional associations to understand the state of the field around openness, learning from failure, using feedback effectively, and engaging with nonprofits to catalyze more openness. In order to gather the most accurate and comprehensive picture, we need your help to ensure as many member organizations complete the survey as possible.

The survey deadline has been extended to Friday May 12th.  The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.  Survey


Johnson Amendment Executive Order

Johnson Amendment Executive Order

President Donald Trump recently released a “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” executive order (EO) relaxing enforcement of regulations governing religious organization’s ability to participate in election and candidate politics.  The Forum has released a statement in response to the EO.  In addition, The Chronicle of Philanthropy posed an analysis of the EO:  “Trump’s Effort to Loosen Rule on Politics in Churches Will Matter Little, Say Experts.

Earlier this year, President Trump indicated his desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a 60-year-old law that prevents 501c3 organizations from endorsing or financially supporting political candidates. In response, several bills have been introduced in Congress to repeal or severely weaken the law. At the time the Forum, GCRI’s national affiliate, produced an official statement on the Johnson Amendment.

The Forum believes that any repeal or weakening of the Johnson Amendment would have serious negative impacts on private foundations and other 501c3 organizations. Foundation CEOs, staffs and boards could find themselves feeling pressured to not only endorse political candidates at local, state and federal levels but to support them financially, draining resources that would otherwise be going to charitable purposes. The Council on Foundations has determined that private foundations can lobby on this issue under the self-defense exception to lobbying restrictions on private foundations.

A collaborative campaign, led by National Council of Nonprofits, is inviting organizations to sign on to a Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship opposing any repeal of the Johnson Amendment. The Forum has signed on to this letter and is a part of a collaborative coalition behind the letter.

According to a determination by the Council on Foundations, it is legally permissible for private foundations to lobby on legislation related to the Johnson Amendment, under the self-defense exception. Private foundations are barred by law from lobbying with a few exceptions, and one such exception is the self-defense exception. As described by the Alliance for Justice, the self-defense exception allows a private foundation to communicate with legislators to express an opinion about any legislation that “could affect the organization’s existence, powers, duties, tax-exempt status, or the deductibility of contributions to the organization.” It is the Council on Foundations’ position that any proposed legislation that would repeal or modify the Johnson Amendment would directly affect the powers and duties of a private foundation or other exempt organization.

More information on the amendment and responses

Midwest Associations Host Corporate Giving Webinar Series

Forum’s Midwest Associations Host Corporate Giving Webinar Series

Regional grantmaking associations from four Midwest states have collaborated to present a series of six webinars designed for companies with a corporate foundation, advised fund at a community foundation, or a giving program. This series specifically targets business professionals who want to think smarter and perform better when it comes to combining their corporate mission with philanthropic action.

Corporate philanthropy is an essential business function that helps support communities where companies are based, foster employee engagement, and generate business value. Individuals want to work for companies that support their communities, and consumers want to purchase goods from companies that are doing good in the world. The Midwest Corporate Giving webinar series offers data supporting the need for corporate philanthropy and development strategies to help giving programs succeed.  The webinars will provide corporate giving and engagement strategies and also allow participants to connect with like-minded corporate giving professionals across the country.

2/22/2017 | Effective Employee Engagement Strategies (hosted by Minnesota Council on Foundations)
4/19/2017 | CSR as a Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy (hosted by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance)
6/28/2017 | Measuring Your Giving ROI (hosted by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance)
8/23/2017 | Leveraging Grants Management for Effective Grantmaking (hosted by Philanthropy Ohio)
10/18/2017 | Triple Bottom Line Best Practices (hosted by Minnesota Council on Foundations)
12/13/2017 | Connected, but Different: Empowering Giving Programs Across Geographies (hosted by Council of Michigan Foundations)

$50 for members of other associations and non-members

Presented by Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Council of Michigan Foundations, Minnesota Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Ohio

See GCRI Events page for descriptions and registration information.

New Forum Members

New Forum Members

As you know, the Forum (GCRI’s national affiliate) has expanded its membership to include not only regional grantmaker associations (currently 33 across the country), but also national philanthropy-serving organizations, such as issue affinity groups and practice groups.  We are very excited about the opportunities to connect with content and practice experts from around the country as well as to highlight and learn from best practices nationwide.

As of January, the following organizations are now our sister organizations in the Forum:

Post-Election Resources

As funders and nonprofits try to understand the issue and policy changes that will occur as a result of the Presidential transition ahead, potential impact ranges from tax code revisions, healthcare access and affordability, to environmental regulations and climate change.  The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (GCRI’s national affiliate) has assembled a resource page with links to a variety of issue analyses and philanthropic responses to the new political environment.  We encourage you to take a look at how your work may be affected on many different levels.

GCRI Members Eligible for Discounted Institute for CSR Tuition

GCRI Members Eligible for Discounted Institute for CSR Tuition

The Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility offers CSR practitioners the opportunity to earn a Professional Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Johns Hopkins in just six months. This non-credit professional certificate program is an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (GCRI’s sister organization in DC) and is offered in partnership with Advanced Academic Programs at Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center.

The program builds skills and presents best practices from some of the nation’s leading CSR practitioners and is completed in four two-day sessions.  Registration for the 25 slots is open and expected to sell out.  Tuition for GCRI members is $5,000 compared to the full fee of $7,500.  The 2017 session will begin in March.

This is a great opportunity to learn from and connect with the best in the business!

More information

GCRI Members Eligible for Conference Discounts

GCRI Members Eligible for Conference Discounts

GCRI Members are eligible for the member rate for the Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments sponsored by Council of New Jersey Grantmakers’ on October 19, and receive a New England Grantmakers discount to the “Leading Effective Foundations” conference sponsored by the Center for Effective Philanthropy in Boston April 4-6.