News and Insights

That Small Town Investing Magic

07/18/2019

Rosalie Sheehy Cates | It’s magic to watch impact investing happen in a small town. In June, a group of local people met in Missoula, Montana for 90 minutes and crafted a $300,000 loan enabling a nonprofit organization to buy land for an innovative affordable housing development. Their transaction paves the way for Homeword to develop up to 72 new homes and support services that are sorely needed in Missoula.  more »

Foundations on the Hill: A Sense of Urgency

03/27/2017

Mike Halligan, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation | Philanthropy Northwest's recent delegation to Foundations on the Hill 2017 included Mike Halligan, who shared his insights with us as a nine-time participant in this annual visit with national policymakers in Washington, D.C. In contrast to my eight previous experiences as a Foundations on the Hill delegate, I detected a palpable sense of urgency by policymakers and staff this year. It was clear from my time on the Hill that dramatic policy changes are on the horizon — and that philanthropy can and should play a professional, objective role in educating our representatives and their constituents on policy issues that impact the livability and sustainability of our communities in the Northwest. Most importantly, we should use our role as a trusted convener to bring all voices to the table to facilitate the resolution of problems that seem beyond our reach at this time. more »

Big Web, Small Threads: Reflecting on Rural Philanthropy

11/08/2016

Amy Hyfield, The O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation | Many of our towns and cities in the Northwest are small, rural and geographically isolated. There is real power in the community that develops in these places. The interconnectedness is out in the open, on the surface, evident and real. Economic development depends upon the availability of childcare, housing, recreation and transportation. Housing depends on the availability of jobs, the quality of life, the efficiency of infrastructure, zoning and the layout of a town. Recreation depends on location, community health and investment priorities, land use and access to the outdoors. The web of factors that impact the themes of diversity, equity and inclusion explored at Philanthropy Northwest’s recent conference, Under One Sky, is especially complicated and tangled in rural areas. Grantmakers are charged with keeping the big picture in perspective. more »

10 Things You Need to Do in Missoula

06/27/2016

Anne Yoon, Program Associate | I'm a native Washingtonian, but I haven't had the chance to explore much of the Northwest beyond the Puget Sound region yet. Road-tripping to Montana has long been on my bucket list, and with Philanthropy Northwest's annual conference Under One Sky in Missoula this fall, I'm excited to make the most of this experience! Nestled in Montana's Northern Rockies, surrounded by seven wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula is an outdoor adventure. What should I do first? There's plenty of hiking in the 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from our conference site. There's also walking tours, art galleries and opportunities to learn more about Missoula's Salish Indian roots. Afterwards, we can cool down with a glass of local craft beer and try the bison burgers. More than 100 people have signed up to attend so far, representing 46 organizations committed to vibrant, healthy Northwest communities. What are you most looking forward to doing in Missoula? more »

Virtual Roundtable: Philanthropic Banks

06/22/2016

Our "virtual roundtable" interviews feature a group of leaders from across our network who work on a common issue area, illuminating the diversity of place-based approaches to the shared topic. We kicked this series off in February with the CEOs of five healthcare conversion foundations, then continued in March with the Pacific Northwest's seven statewide nonprofit associations, April with four arts funders and May with five rural funders. For June, we interviewed representatives of four banks engaged in Northwest philanthropy: First Interstate Bank, Pacific Continental Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. more »

The Northwest Art of Bringing People Together

06/02/2016

Deb Halliday, Graduation Matters Montana | How many convenings have you attended that turned out to be nothing more than a "sit and git" — panelists presenting recent data, research and the occasional inspirational story? At a recent Washington, D.C. gathering of practitioners working on high school dropout prevention, I kept waiting for the point when we’d be introduced to each other, or invited to talk in small groups about what we were hearing and how it connects — or doesn’t connect — to our own experiences. Instead: meeting over, nametags tossed, a nice new tote bag to add to my collection. On my flight home, I thought about how we’ve designed Graduation Matters Montana, in which we invite people to explore what we’re learning and to co-create new approaches. In six short years, we’ve reached the highest graduation rate on state record, with over 50 Montana communities now hosting a GMM initiative. The art of bringing people together has been central to this work, and I wondered: “Is it a Northwestern thing?” more »

Montana Philanthropy Transforms Graduation Rates

02/24/2016

Caitlin Copple, Montana-Idaho-Wyoming Correspondent | Since 2009, the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation has granted $900,000 to help Graduation Matters Montana increase graduation rates in 53 communities — helping the state reach an all-time high of 86% of students graduating, cutting the drop-out rate by more than a third. Now in its fifth year, the Graduation Matters recipe for success focuses on family involvement and community partnerships. With Philanthropy Northwest's annual conference returning to Missoula in September, including Halligan as one of our co-chairs, the foundation looks forward to updating our six-state region's funders on what's possible through community collaboration — adding fuel to the ballooning interest in this place-based giving model. more »

Paying for Success in the Northwest

12/21/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | The Pacific Northwest has a unique and globally influential culture marked by innovation, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, generosity and stewardship. Our region’s commitment to innovation drives our growing leadership in impact investing — leveraging private capital for social good. Impact investors seek opportunities to earn a financial return while also doing something good for society. Their aspirations are changing the way we think about solutions to big social problems like homelessness, poverty and unemployment. more »

Investing in Justice: Where Do We Go From Here?

07/28/2015

Kristen Holway, Senior Manager, Learning Practice | Knowing that nearly half of all low-income Montanans experience at least one civil legal problem each year that goes unaddressed, the Montana Access to Justice Commission, with support from Philanthropy Northwest member Montana Justice Foundation, conducted a study to better understand the gaps and barriers to civil legal aid access. Their findings have implications for funders across all states and all sectors — and have us asking ourselves whether there is a need for broader conversation. more »

Call for Nominations: Philanthropy Northwest Board Seeks Candidates

07/09/2015

Kevin Walker, Vice Chair of Board Operations | I have had the privilege of serving on Philanthropy Northwest’s board of directors since 2010, and have found it to be a remarkable leadership development experience. Our board, like the broader membership, is made up of engaged, passionate leaders who care deeply about the communities they serve. I am pleased to share that for the first time in its history, Philanthropy Northwest is seeking nominations directly from our members for board candidates to be elected this fall. more »

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