By Stephen Alexander, Exponent Philanthropy
This past #GivingTuesday (December 2), CEO Henry Berman and I represented Exponent Philanthropy at a daylong White House event Community Foundations: Vital Leadership for America’s Future. In the 100th year of the existence of community foundations, it may have marked the start of a new era.
Here are four takeaways from the event:
- Setting the tone for the next century of community foundation giving, Jonathan Greenblatt, special assistant to the president and director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, extended an olive branch to the tight-knit family of community foundations. He also issued an informal mandate to community foundation leaders—ideas I believe hold true for any philanthropist committed to our collective future:
- Embrace your role as a leader at all levels: local, state, and national.
- Lean into advocacy; flex your muscles and let your representatives know what matters to you and your community.
- Take risks—you have the freedom to do so.
- Conduct R&D for social services; let the public sector follow in your wake.
- Help our citizens and representatives better understand philanthropy.
- The event centered on relationship-building. Acknowledging missed opportunities come and gone, the White House warmly welcomed nearly 100 community foundation leaders, leaders of regional associations of grantmakers, and philanthropy groups including GuideStar, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the Council on Foundations, and Exponent Philanthropy, among others.