PNW News

Our Pursuit of Deeper Impact

02/13/2017

Haley Millet, Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project | As Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project works at the intersection of food, finance, and philanthropy to transform the Pacific Northwest regional food system, we ask the question, “how good is good enough?” With regards to individual investment opportunities, does the investment meet a need expressed by the community? What ripple effects might the investment have? Social impact advisor Katherine Pease of KP Advisors asks this critical question of the impact investing field at large. more »

How Can I Be 1% More?

02/09/2017

In a conversation for Philanthropy's Reflective Practices, The Giving Practice's Sindhu Knotz and Jan Jaffe caught up with June Wilson, board member and executive director emeritus of Quixote Foundation, to learn about her reflective practices and the foundation’s application of reflective practices to racial equity work. "For me, it’s a way of reaching farther when I feel like I’ve hit a limit," she explains "If I can start by finding even 1% more patience, presence, love, imagination, I can break through that barrier." more »

Sharpening Our Advocacy Tools for a New Administration

02/07/2017

Remy Trupin, Catalyst Fellow | Advocacy is an important tool in philanthropy's toolbox. Are you wielding it effectively? With so many policy changes coming from the new White House, Congress and state agencies, foundations and their grantees need to be engaged more than ever. Eager to learn more, sharpen their skills and compare notes, we offered a workshop last month on how private and public foundations can support grantees’ advocacy efforts and engage in advocacy themselves. Abby Levine, director of Alliance for Justice's Bolder Advocacy initiative, provided an overview of activities that constitute advocacy and public policy work, along with examples of advocacy roles for foundations, definitions of lobbying, and rules for private vs. public foundation grants to nonprofits that engage in lobbying (including general support, specific projects and multi-year grants). more »

Rising Up to Meet Our Challenges

02/03/2017

Audrey Haberman, Interim CEO | When Philanthropy Northwest began exploring the relationship of philanthropy to democracy in 2014, Daniel Kemmis wrote, "We find ourselves in the midst of an extended period of fairly acute and widespread uneasiness about the health of our democracy." Those words seem to ring even more true today. In the last two weeks, we have heard statements and seen actions challenging our democracy on a whole new level: a ban on vetted refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries; the disappearance of any mention of LGBTQ people on the White House website; proposed restrictions on women’s reproductive health and rights; reduced access to affordable healthcare; and new threats to our Native and public lands, to name just a few issues at the core of our network's values. Yet it is also heartening to see hundreds of thousands of people around the country exercise their rights to assemble, to protest and to express their opinions. This is what democracy looks like. more »

Top 11 Reasons to Visit Vancouver, WA

02/02/2017

Anne Yoon, Program Associate | Philanthropy Northwest's 2017 Annual Conference will be held along the banks of Cascadia's longest river, the ancestral home of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Northwest's oldest apple tree: Vancouver, Washington! There's so much to learn and share during our conference plenaries and breakout sessions, but there's always time to take a stroll — Vancouver has 40 miles of urban trails! — and take in the sights, too. During our program team's recent site visit, we loved meeting with our partners from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and making new connections while enjoying the vibrant streets, beautiful landscape and small-town charm. In adiditon to our conference, our new friends sat Visit Vancouver USA offer these 10 recommendations: more »

Standing Against Injustice

01/31/2017

Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust | Following two executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees, on Friday, Jan. 27, just a week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars refugees and immigrants from a number of Muslim countries from entering the United States. It’s clear we are at the beginning of a long, hard fight. What comes next? We must stand for the rights of all people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. In response, Meyer is providing grants to five community-based organizations on the front lines of ensuring the security, safety and civil rights of all people in our community. Although we currently fund these organizations, now more than ever their human and financial resources are being tested by the great work before them. And we need them to be strong in this fight. more »

Stepping Back to See More Clearly

01/30/2017

Jan Jaffe, The Giving Practice and Ryan Chao, Annie E. Casey Foundation | The Giving Practice's Jan Jaffe spoke with Ryan Chao, Annie E. Casey Foundation vice president, about developing and using philanthropy's reflective practices individually and in teams. "Our team is organized to effect change for people and place in education, workforce and housing," he explains. "That means we are philanthropy practitioners with very diverse backgrounds working together and working with partners in the community with very diverse backgrounds. Perhaps because of this very multidisciplinary approach, we have to be able to question each other’s answers in order to fine tune our collaborative effort. We’re using three reflective practices to help the team share and problem solve with each other." more »

Systems Thinking: How You Show Up Matters

01/26/2017

Jan Jaffe, Senior Partner, The Giving Practice | In an interview for Philanthropy's Reflective Practices, Jan Jaffe spoke with Katie Hong, a Raikes Foundation director focused on youth and young adult homelessness, about systems thinking. "I am passionate about the topic of reflective practice because I believe in the power of “self” as a tool and this is critical to having impact in the world," she responds. "I’ve been in different roles in the government sector and in the private philanthropic sector always working with others to drive change. I deploy a couple of practices that help me on a daily basis." more »

Philanthropy Can & Must Support a Healthy Democracy

01/20/2017

Jesse Beason, Northwest Health Foundation | Much can be said, and indeed much is being said, about the state of our democracy. On this Inauguration Day, after the most divisive and troubling election of my lifetime, there are so many things on my mind. When it comes to fixing what ails our democracy, it is hard to know where to begin. Judging from the conversations I’ve had with peers and colleagues, philanthropy isn’t exactly sure where to begin either. But what better trusted messengers do we have than our community-based nonprofits, the very organizations that philanthropy makes investments in every day? Philanthropy can meet this call. We can go as far and as boldly as our tax status allows us — which, quite frankly, is much further than we pretend. more »

Ground Truth: Between Nonprofit & For-Profit Paths for Impact

01/19/2017

Tim Crosby, Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project | The recent election cycle has reminded us that even though the United States is one nation, we have many different ideas on how to make our country better. As I've been sharing Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project’s recent market research over the past few months, commissioned to identify strategies to grow Washington and Oregon's food economy, I've had a similar realization: We can all read the same research yet come to different conclusions about how to grow our regional food economy. Not surprisingly, our nonprofit and for-profit reviewers have come up with different investment recommendations. This divergence can be attributed to a logic model gap, or a difference in the tools used by different departments to implement a shared mission. For instance, a foundation program department may seek opportunities to catalyze system transformation, while the same foundation’s finance department seeks a positive financial return. As we "ground truth" our research, we are also seeking to understand if the conclusions touch on real investment opportunities. more »

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