News and Insights

Never Stop Learning: An Integral Approach to Continuous Education


Anna Gallich, Staff Accountant | Everyone experiences feelings of professional disappointment sometimes. In September, I had to miss Philanthropy Northwest’s 2016 conference in Montana, after months of working with the team to help put it together. When I heard our staff’s stories and saw the photos, I felt I had fallen behind on my philanthropy learning curve — and missed a a lot of fun celebrating our 40th anniversary! But I had a very good reason: I was getting my long-awaited master’s degree in psychology. Growing up in Russia with Lenin's ideology of “Learn, Learn, Learn” hanging on a poster in every classroom, I absorbed the importance of a good education from a young age. As an adult, I also think about the importance of an integral education: a comprehensive and continuing process that does not stop at any point in life. more »

Virtual Roundtable: Graduation Funders


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, May with five rural funders, June with four philanthropic banks, and July with CEOs of five foundations supporting our Momentum Fellowship, a leadership program designed to expand our sector's diversity, equity and inclusion. For August, we interviewed leaders from five foundations working to improve high school and college graduation rates: Ben B. Cheney Foundation, The CIRI Foundation, College Spark Washington, Pride Foundation and Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation. more »

The Northwest Art of Bringing People Together


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


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 »

A Shared Responsibility for Helping Diverse Communities Thrive


Eduardo Moreno, Momentum Fellow | Every time I was sick as a child, my mom would make her way over to the medicine cabinet and I knew it was going to be a couple of days in bed with the VapoRub and Broncolin treatment. This was a common home remedy among Mexican families, and one I sometimes catch myself using today. There was no escaping la familia and the Latino community that helped shape all stages of my early education, spirituality, and even my health practices. It was this community that pushed me and kept me on track to become the first one in my family to attend a four-year university. As my learning around philanthropy and funding at the intersections of health and education continues, I know that if we work collaboratively, and support families and communities to lead this work, they will in turn ensure that each student is emotionally and physically healthy, engaged, supported and challenged. more »

Philanthropy is... Enterpreneurial: What We Heard at Local Matters: Idaho


Jon Stahl, Communications Director | Last week we were thrilled to welcome a capacity crowd of 70+ philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, government officials, nonprofit leaders and academics to Boise, Idaho for the second event in our 2015 Local Matters series. Here's what we talked about. more »

College Affordability: How Can Philanthropy Help?


Kristen Holway and Nicole Neroulias Gupte | College applications have skyrocketed in the past decade — and along with them, tuition and student debt. As high school seniors and undergraduates weigh their options for Fall 2015, Philanthropy Northwest, Washington Women in Need and College Spark Washington convened a group of funders and state organizations to share efforts to address this mounting crisis. more »