News and Insights

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 »

Shaping Advocacy, Rebuilding Democracy

01/12/2017

Remy Trupin, Catalyst Fellow | The beginning of January always signals a mad rush of advocacy alerts to my inbox and phone. As a former lobbyist, I recall the junior high-like atmosphere of reconnecting with your friends and frenemies during the first few days of the legislative session, refreshed from the time away and ready to consider new alliances. This January, however, is like no other. An unprecedented presidential election outcome, followed by continued confusion and rancor, has increased public appetite for activism. The speed in which these debates are happening — in person and online, 24 hours a day — requires immediate and intensive focus. Philanthropy must be involved in the short-term work of shaping policy change and the long-term work of rebuilding the institutions we use to advance the common good. more »

Six Qualities of Effective Servant Leadership

01/11/2017

Erin Thomas, Talent Partner | January is full of new beginnings and a renewed sense of purpose. It's also the month that hosts one of my favorite observances: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On this third Monday in January, people all over the country honor the legacy and impact of this courageous role model's spirited social activism and selfless community service. I can’t think of a more pressing time to be inspired by these tenets, to come together to help our communities and feel a shared responsibilty to make our places healthy and vibrant for all. I hope you can join me and the thousands of others who will be serving community on January 16, and continue working on six skills to become a more effective servant leader in 2017: more »

Chasing Hope & Opportunity in 2017

01/05/2017

Maya Thornell-Sandifor, Director of Learning Strategy | We have arrived in 2017! Moving forward into the new year, Philanthropy Northwest is excited about what the future holds and prepared to build upon the successes of the previous year. While we leave 2016 with many uncertainties, we have great faith in our Northwest philanthropic community's continued investment in the innovation, resilience and optimism that define our region. We see regional philanthropy stepping up to ensure nonprofit and service organizations have the capacity to drive towards their missions and serve as advocates for what’s needed on the ground. In the past few months, we have been reminded that you place high value on generosity, compassion, human rights and justice. And so, we look ahead with a great sense of hope. Hope that we will find clarity and understanding in how we can move forward collectively as a region and nation. Hope in transparent conversations that make clear the places where we are more alike in our shared pursuits than we are different. Hope that as a sector we take advantage of opportunities to learn from our mistakes, replicate our successes and share in solutions that make philanthropy a more effective institution. In this hopeful spirit, here's a preview of the ways Philanthropy Northwest seeks to engage and have impact in 2017: more »

Grantmakers & Policymakers: Let's Talk

01/05/2017

Susan Weiss, Senior Policy Advisor | I am thrilled to be stepping in to help with the Northwest philanthropic sector's public policy efforts over the next few months, as Philanthropy Northwest's senior policy advisor. My primary roles include leading our six-state network's delegation to Foundations on the Hill in Washington, D.C. this March and supporting the work of our board's public policy committee. I believe all of us in philanthropy have a critical role to define how our investments and partnerships can inform policy decisions and ensure that policymakers fully understand the role that philanthropy plays in our states and local communities. There is an urgency for philanthropy to move sooner rather than later to engage, educate and learn — at the federal and state level — to ensure that philanthropy is an effective resource as well as voice for the needs of our communities. more »

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