Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

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Press Release

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Dan Brady
Communications Manager
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
(888) 391-3235

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and
Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

Nationwide Partnership Will Expand Access to Data on Philanthropy, Improve Foundation Effectiveness

New York, NY — October 6, 2014. Washington, DC-based Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and New York-based Foundation Center have announced a new partnership to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking through the strategic collection and sharing of data on philanthropy. The Forum is a national network of 34 geographically organized philanthropic associations that together have a membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations, making it the largest network in American philanthropy. Foundation Center is an independent nonprofit that is known as the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.
"The philanthropic sector talks increasingly about such things as field alignment, strategic collaboration, and leveraging core competencies," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "This partnership is a golden opportunity to put those principles into action."
The Forum's mission is to leverage the collective knowledge of its association members so that each can be the highest quality provider of philanthropic support services in their regions, while a Foundation Center priority is to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic. The partnership will tap the unique strengths of each organization in order to achieve shared goals.
"The Forum Network has both deep regional roots and a broad national reach, and our regional associations' members are key to strengthening connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector. However, at present, only a handful of our associations has access to up-to-date grantmaking data on their membership, and none have sophisticated online tools that allow the data to be queried and explored in real time," said Michael Litz, president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. "Opening these new resources to the Forum Network will be a game-changer for those striving to be more strategic and impactful in their philanthropy."
The partnership will entail establishing platforms and systems for collecting data contributed by Forum members and translating it into knowledge services that will benefit not only the Forum membership, but the broader philanthropic sector. Specific plans include the following:
  • Philanthropy Data: To support a vibrant and effective philanthropic sector, the partnership will launch a "donor data campaign" to encourage members of regional associations to centralize and standardize giving data at Foundation Center. This current data will be accessible to all members through an interactive mapping platform helping to inform funding decisions and track trends in each region.
  • Philanthropy Research: Templates for research reports will be created so that information about regional giving can be more easily and efficiently published and shared, providing regionally focused funders with critical information about funding patterns in their communities.
  • Philanthropy Tools: Data visualization, benchmarking, and knowledge management tools will provide regional associations with continuous access to comprehensive data on the work of their member foundations and empower users to draw actionable conclusions from the information.
In recent years, Foundation Center and individual Forum member associations have partnered on a wide variety of projects, including more than 40 research reports and fact sheets, and Forum members have participated in Foundation Center's Funding Information Network. This partnership is a natural evolution of those preceding collaborations, all of which have in common the goal of spreading knowledge to strengthen philanthropy and the good it can achieve. The national scope of the partnership, however, will introduce efficiencies and broaden its impact.
"Recent advances in information technology have put us in a position to collect and share knowledge far more efficiently than ever before," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at Foundation Center. "When this system for data gathering, sharing, and visualization is applied across an entire network of grantmakers, the opportunities for donors to collaborate and achieve their visions of a better world will multiply exponentially."
Share on Twitter: Strategic alliance btwn @givingforum and @fdncenter will improve quality and effectiveness of grantmaking.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call(212) 620-4230.
About the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers
Established in 1998, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national philanthropic leader and network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers with a combined membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum facilitates effective philanthropy by fueling connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector, delivering efficiencies and cost savings for our 34 member associations, and providing tools and resources to advance policy change. For more information, please visit or call (888) 391-3235.

Foundation Center • 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 • (212) 620-4230

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust - RISK eNews

OCCA Announces Conservationist of the Year, Annual Dinner


For Immediate Release: October 21, 2014

OCCA announces Conservationist of the Year, Annual Dinner

COOPERSTOWN – On Monday, November 17 the Otsego County Conservation Association will present its 2014 “Conservationist of the Year” award to the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association .

“CLIA is being recognized for outstanding leadership, teamwork, and dedication,” said OCCA President Vicky M. Lentz, “and for its proactive approach to the protection and preservation of Canadarago Lake’s freshwater heritage for future generations.”

CLIA, nominated by former OCCA Board member Pam Lea, is currently in the final stages of completing the Canadarago Lake Watershed Protection Plan – the first of its kind for Canadarago Lake – and began a brand new Lake Steward Program in 2014 to help prevent the spread of invasive species.

OCCA will also present a Special Recognition for Lifetime Achievement to Edward Wesnofske for his contributions toward environmentally and economically sound solid waste solutions for Otsego County. Wesnofske was nominated by Otsego County Representatives James Powers and Keith McCarty.

The award ceremony is part of OCCA’s Annual Dinner and Meeting, to be held at Holiday Inn Oneonta/Cooperstown, 5206 State Highway 23, Oneonta. This event includes a silent auction fundraiser as well as a presentation by Allen Nichols, president of the New York Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation, on efforts to save and restore the American chestnut tree.

“All Silent Auction proceeds will benefit OCCA’s programs to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “Bring your checkbooks, and bid early and often!”

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for the Silent Auction preview. Items must be paid for at the end of the evening; cash or check only.

Annual Dinner menu choices are roast prime rib of beef au jus, chicken stir fry or eggplant parmesan. All selections include seasonal green salad with house dressing; seasonal vegetables, potatoes, or rice; rolls with butter; apple crisp for dessert; and tea or coffee. There will be a cash bar with gourmet cheese assortment at 6:00 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Reservations, $35 per person, are required by Monday, November 10. For more information, e-mail or call (607) 547-4488.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County's natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit

Darla M. Youngs, Executive Director
Otsego County Conservation Association
Facilitator, Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee
7193 State Highway 80, PO Box 931
Cooperstown, NY 13326
(607) 547-4488(607) 282-4087
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters banner

Wanted: Courageous Board Members
Stand For Your MissionFor too long, a myth has hung over the nonprofit community like a scary fog:  that nonprofit advocacy is somehow spooky. Nothing could be further from the truth, because advocating for missions is a core part of our sector’s proud legacy. If you eat in smoke-free restaurants, drive safely on divided highways, have a Social Security card, use your civil rights, or are a voting female, then you are benefiting from the past advocacy work of nonprofits – and board members. That’s why we are excited to let you know about a new campaign,Stand For Your Mission, launched to raise awareness - specifically among nonprofit board members - that being an advocate for the nonprofit’s mission is an important role for every board member to play.


The Stand for Your Mission campaign calls on all nonprofit board members to stand up as powerful champions for the missions they serve. The campaign is designed to unleash the full potential of nonprofit organizations to advance their missions in their local communities by engaging board members more directly as advocates on behalf of their organizations.

The goals of the Stand for Your Mission campaign are to:
  • Bring about a sustainable shift in the understanding and expectations around board engagement in advocacy;
  • Move advocacy from an ancillary to a key board leadership role; and
  • Strengthen the nonprofit sector’s ability to advance the public good.

Importantly, this new campaign is not being advanced by ghosts, ghouls, or goblins, but by trusted, mainstream organizations in the nonprofit and grantmaking communities that recognize the need to change the culture around nonprofit advocacy so it is embraced as an effective, everyday tool for advancing nonprofit missions. The National Council of Nonprofits collaborated withBoardSource, the Alliance for Justice (with its Bolder Advocacyinitiative), the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Campion Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to curate a set of core resources for board members, CEOs, and grantmakers. Please share the Stand for Your Mission discussion guide as a useful resource with your board.


Talking about That Which Shall Not Be Named [what it really costs to be a charitable nonprofit]
While we wish we could just wave a wand, magical thinking won’t stop those who rate and rank nonprofits by focusing on the cost of a nonprofit’s operations, rather than its impact in solving community challenges. So what can nonprofits do to shake off this aversion to costs? Remember Harry’s invisibility cloak? Throw it off! Be bold and brave enough to have candid conversations with donors about what it really costs to deliver programs and services.  

Bring financial sustainability closer in 3 easy steps
First, let’s toss out the shape-shifting term “overhead” that means something different to everybody and instead just call all these costs what they are, whether “fundraising,” or rent, or “general administrative.” Second, let’s ignore any apparent incentives to be fuzzy about the full expenses needed to deliver a nonprofit’s services or programs. Instead, by fully embracing our own costs, nonprofits will help manage expectations about what is really needed to solve problems in communities. Third, let’s find the courage to talk about the costs, especially with donors and grantmakers – and document them, demonstrating accountability and candor consistent with a culture of transparency. We think this is the right approach – and we’re inviting you to join us by:“owning your own costs.”

Join us for a Special Webinar to Raise Awareness
About Costs
At the National Council of Nonprofits, we and our State Association network are tackling misconceptions about costs one step at a time. Transparency about costs first requires knowing how much it actually costs to provide services and deliver programs. This means that someone at every nonprofit should be able to properly account for program related costs as well as those costs that cut across all the activities of the nonprofit. We know this can a challenge, so our network is hosting a special program designed to help your nonprofit #OwnYourOwnCosts.

Please join the National Council of Nonprofits and our State Association network for a free webinar about proper cost allocation, so we can all own our own costs and spread the message that all costs, whether for fundraising or administration, or anything else related to advancing our nonprofit’s mission are essential.

Guest speaker: Jeff Russell, founder and CEO of Jitasa
October 23 | 3:30 - 4:30 pm Eastern

Resources for Board Members
Good governance (National Council of Nonprofits)

Board members’ voices count!

More resources about scary stuff

Risk, risk, and more risk – and resources for managing it (National Council of Nonprofits)

Losing tax-exempt status(National Council of Nonprofits)

501h election: A simple way to protect your nonprofit from lobbying missteps (National Council of Nonprofits)

Worth Reading
Is your nonprofit scared of social mediaAespire explains the three myths of social media.

New! The Sustainability Mindset, by Jeanne Bell and Steve Zimmerman

This month’s poll:
Does your board monitor the impact of public policies on your nonprofit's mission delivery and resources?

Tell us in this quick, one-question poll and look for the results in next month's Nonprofit Knowledge Matters.

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