Meredith Higashi | The philanthropic community relies on census data to guide philanthropic reach, impact and effectiveness. Philanthropic leaders use census data to understand community and demographic trends and inform fact-based decisions on long-term investments and grants. Inaccurate census data could divert federal resources from communities in need, forcing philanthropy to fill these gaps, while decreasing the effectiveness of these investments. One of the most concerning threats to a full census count is the addition of a new and untested question about citizenship status to the 2020 census form. more »
Kiran Ahuja | Earlier this year, Philanthropy Northwest committed to a journey that centers equity on the path to achieving a fairer and more just world. This journey compels both reflection and the use of our voice.
Over recent months, we have witnessed the family separation crisis at our border with sorrow and outrage. The federal government’s forcible and prolonged separation of children from their parents as these immigrant families sought refuge is an affront to the values of an equitable and just society, in which all people are treated with decency, respect and compassion.
Today, despite a court-ordered deadline having passed for the reunification of more than 2,000 families, the crisis remains ongoing. more »
Kiran Ahuja | On a recent trip to Anchorage, after engaging with local philanthropic leaders and learning about Alaska’s unique attributes and challenges, it dawned on me the many lessons funders in the lower 48 can glean from Alaska’s philanthropic leaders. In a geographically large state with a small population, funders wear multiple hats and coordinate easily across organizations to address formidable challenges – including homelessness, lack of affordable housing and healthcare services, access to high-quality P-16 education, workforce development and much, much more.
From this recent visit and in my role with Philanthropy Northwest over the past year, I’d like to share my observations about the unique positioning of philanthropy in Alaska. more »
Maya Thornell-Sandifor, Learning Strategy Director | We are thrilled to announce the latest keynote plenary speaker at the Philanthropy Northwest annual conference in Vancouver, coming up Oct. 3-5: Dr. Gail C. Christopher, D.N., N.D. Christopher joins former Deputy Secretary of Labor, Chris Lu, as a conference headliner. Other just-announced closing plenary speakers will include: Maulik Pancholy, best known for his role on NBC's hit show, 30 Rock, and leading the #ActToChange anti-bullying campaign; Becky L. Monroe, Director of the Stop Hate Project, at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Eric K. Ward, incoming Executive Director of Western States Center. more »
Kiran Ahuja | One of the things I'm most proud of about this year's conference is the way we've curated conversations about timely topics. That's apparent in Day Three's closing plenary, which features four incredible panelists who will discuss the rise of hate in a post-9/11, post-Charlottesville context that's become quite unfriendly toward Arab-Americans, South Asian-Americans, and immigrants, including my friend, former 30 Rock actor Maulik Pacholy. more »
Rosalie Sheehy Cates, Mission Investing Catalyst Fellow | Philanthropy Northwest is exploring a bond fund that would give members an easy new way to make investments in the communities they care about. Modeled after a successful effort in Minnesota, we’re excited to explore this opportunity with our members. I’ll be hosting a lunch meeting during the annual conference where members can learn more and share ideas. more »
Caitlin Copple, Communications Consultant | “Kiran helped the Wing Luke Museum find our way through the mysteries of federal government,” said Beth Takekawa, executive director. “From her leadership post in the Obama Administration, she cared about a community-based museum. She brought critical knowledge, dedication to community, and a way of being quietly effective in helping us find a path to establishing our National Park Service affiliation.” more »
Kiran Ahuja, CEO | What does it mean to live one’s values? As the new Philanthropy Northwest CEO, my recent trip to Anchorage marked my first board meeting, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But when a board and organization lead with values, especially when those values include a strong commitment to our communities, I felt right at home. By immersing ourselves several times a year in different parts of Philanthropy Northwest’s region, our leadership team can reflect on how best to grow and share knowledge among our network of members and truly live out our value-based Strategy Framework, including in particular “honor[ing] our past, people and our cultures.” more »
Kiran Ahuja, CEO | As we look to the future, I'm struck by Philanthropy Northwest's values of equity, engagement, integrity, accountability, and learning—values that have been central in my career thus far. Most recently I served as chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, supporting thousands of federal employees committed to public service. Before that I served as executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, working to increase access to federal programs and services for these underserved populations. Earlier in my career, I litigated education-related civil rights cases for the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division including desegregation cases. more »
Lyn Hunter, Senior Program Manager | More than 20 breakout sessions for the upcoming Philanthropy Northwest Conference in Vancouver, Washington have begun to take shape after a record response to our request for proposals. With presenters ranging from leaders at Social Justice Fund and Pride Foundation to the Murdock Trust, we're finalizing the details of conversations that are sure to add value to the work of philanthropists from across the region. New to this year's Annual Conference is an "unconference" element, sometimes referred to as "open space" sessions. Slated for the final day of the conference, October 5, these sessions will combine curated smaller-group conversations led by experts with opportunities to deepen conversations that emerge from the preceding days' breakout sessions. This is one year you won't want to leave early, so keep that in mind as you book your travel. In keeping with our theme, many sessions (though not all!) will be policy-focused on topics such as: health policy, tax reform, housing and homelessness, Indian Country, child welfare, civil/legal issues, and the rule of law in America. more »