News and Insights

Local Matters: Why Not Invest Where You Live?


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 »

Creating Space for the ‘Elephants in the Room’ at #PNW17


Lyn Hunter, Senior Program Manager | Change appears to be the new normal for our sector. We’re committed to creating the space where you can dive into what’s most pressing in your foundation and learn from your peers who, like you, are working to make sense of the latest news in real time. Philanthropy Interrupted Talks is the part of the conference where you'll get to curate your own experience by leading and participating in discussions on a variety of emergent issues, including the “elephant in the room,” the federal budget. more »

Adaptive Leadership as a Reflective Practice


Caroline Williamson, Executive Director, B. Robert Williamson, Jr. Foundation | This post from Philanthropy’s Reflective Practices site is the result of networks and reverse engineering. I wanted to explore whether philanthropy practitioners have used adaptive leadership, the framework developed by Dr. Ronald Heifetz and colleagues at Harvard’s Kennedy School, as a form of reflective practice. Hanh Le, who wrote a great post on Katy Perry lyrics and foundation strategy on this site, introduced me to foundation director and leadership consultant Marc Manashil, who with Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant created a variety of programs at New York University’s (NYU) Silver School of Social Work using the adaptive leadership approach. Those programs are funded by the B. Robert Williamson Jr. Foundation. I wanted to learn how this foundation came to support a form of reflective practice as capacity building, and that’s how I began my conversation with the foundation’s Executive Director, Caroline Williamson.
— Jan Jaffe
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Monthly Reflection: Charlottesville Calls for Philanthropy to Lead


Kiran Ahuja, CEO | Growing up in the South, Charlottesville felt all too familiar, though no less enraging and saddening to me. There have been counter protests to KKK and white supremacist marches for as long as I can remember. I distinctly recall going to one in North Georgia to “monitor” the protest. The difference was those gatherings were small, and hardly picked up by the media or the general public, though the foreign press often covered them. more »

Chris Lu

Former Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu to Headline #PNW17


Lyn Hunter, Senior Program Manager | I am thrilled to announce that Chris Lu, former Deputy Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama, will participate in a featured breakfast plenary at #PNW17 on Thursday morning, Oct. 5. Lu is a senior fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia and is a senior advisor to FiscalNote, a government relationship management (GRM) technology company that helps organizations manage issues and interactions at all levels of government.He’ll be joined on the panel by Nichole June Maher, President and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation and moderated by Kiran Ahuja, our new CEO. Read on to see some of the exciting and timely conference sessions we have in store for our time in Vancouver, WA. more »

Workforce Development in Action: BankWork$ Graduates Inspire, Find Jobs Upon Graduations


Mark Dederer, Executive Director, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation | BankWork$ is a free workforce development program for low-income, urban young adults that aims to provide secure jobs in the banking industry that pay above a living wage and offer benefits and career advancement potential. Our job placement rate is 75%. Last week, BankWork$ graduated almost 50 students from its eight-week program in the Puget Sound region. more »

Gates Foundation, AAPIP Welcome Kiran Ahuja


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 »

Board Retreat in Alaska:  Living our Values


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 »

First Reflections


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 »

Preview #PNW17: Conference Sessions Taking Shape


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 »