Posts filed under ‘Annual Conference 2010’

Annual Conference Filled with Firsts

Our annual conference in Cincinnati (November 8-10) was filled with a number of firsts for OGF:

  • First use of our new conference brand, Philanthropy Forward: Eyes on the Future, Feet on the Ground, representing both the “big picture” and practical aspects of the conference’s 25 different sessions, site visits and networking events.
  • First use of a Social Media Squad, composed of volunteer OGF members, who tweeted their way through the conference, with 145 tweets we’ve counted.
  • Video interviews with two plenary speakers: Ralph Smith of the Annie E. Casey Foundation who talked about sector agnostic partnerships; and Mark Rosenman, director of Caring to Change, who talked about foundations and the common good (find interviews located on the sidebar).
  • A paperless conference: attendees didn’t lug around heavy binders this year, as we handed out jump drives filled with all the conference handouts and PowerPoints. An additional benefit: even those members who couldn’t attend the conference can access the materials online, as we posted a zip drive with all the handouts here.

And it’s not too early to save the dates for Philanthropy Forward ’11: October 24 – 26, in Columbus.

November 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Fellowship Matters

Having just returned from the OGF conference, I am on a serious high – even in the midst of voicemails and emails that need to be returned! My high is not necessarily from all of the things I learned…it is much more about the professional fellowship that occurred in Cincinnati. It was great to be amongst peers from across the state – peers who represent a wide range of philanthropic organizations and serve an even broader range of communities and needs.

It is often in the informal fellowship that true learning happens. I found that to be especially true at this conference, where I met (or remet) a number of peers at the conference (and even on the bus!) and had the opportunity to really engage in timely, relevant discussions. Discussions about diversity and how the definition differs depending on who you ask. Or about succession planning and grooming the next generation of leaders. Or about social media and whether there is ever enough time in the day to really devote time to it. Or about the economy – and education – and budget cuts – and access to health care for all.

There are so many knowledgeable leaders in our field – with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. So many people to learn from. So many people focused on changing lives and making the world a better place.  I look forward to continuing to grow and learn in the field from all who have come before me, so that I can in turn reach back and teach some who are following in my footsteps.  I feel blessed to have this unique opportunity and look forward to future opportunities for fellowship.

Kim St. John-Stevenson
Saint Luke’s Foundation

November 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

OGF’s Conference Kicks Off in Cincinnati

Afternoon site visits and a welcome party above Fountain Square brought funders together yesterday. Grantmakers traveled by bus to community learning centers, Building Value and Cincinnati Cooks to learn first-hand about innovative approaches to education and work force training.

Amid the charged atmosphere of Monday Night Football – Bengals vs. Steelers – grantmakers networked at The Taft Law Center before venturing out into the crowd of fans for dinner.

Today’s plenary and concurrent sessions start off with Ralph Smith, Annie E. Casey Foundation, leading off a discussion on public-private partnerships.

November 9, 2010 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

Prizes in Philanthropy Grow in Popularity

Prizes in philanthropy seem to be quite in vogue these days, gauging from a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article as well as other media coverage and announcements. The awards range from modest cash awards of $5,000 up to the granddaddy of them all, the X Prize Foundation’s $10 and $20 million awards.  Some awards seek to spur innovation while others award accomplishment; some go to individuals, some to organizations; some are judged by experts while others depend on popular votes.

A few examples of perhaps less-known foundation prizes include:

  • Lodestar Foundation’s $250,000 Collaboration Prize
  • Broad $2 million Prize for Urban Education
  • Knight’s News Challenge
  • Hitachi Foundation’s $50,000 Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program
  • JPMorgan Chase’s Community Giving Contest
  • Dominion East Ohio’s Community Impact Awards

Last year, a report by McKinsey & Company, And the winner is, also focused on the potential of cash awards to catalyze breakthrough solutions to social problems. It suggested that “Leading philanthropists should consider how they can best use prizes as part of their philanthropic portfolio, and should accept the challenge of finding innovative ways to harness the potential of this powerful instrument.” McKinsey’s research counted large prizes (which they defined as $100,000 or more) that totaled $375 million last year.

Does your foundation currently award a prize or is it considering doing so? If so, we’d like to hear about it. And, while OGF’s prize, the Ohio Philanthropy Award, doesn’t include a cash award, each year’s recipient does receive a very nice art glass sculpture suitable for your office bookshelf. Nominees for the award must be:

  • an individual or a group of individuals involved with organized philanthropy in Ohio; or
  • a grantmaking organization (foundation, corporate contributions program or other grantmaking organization) or a group of grantmaking organizations in Ohio.

Nominations are due July 16; more info is online for OGF members.

Let’s talk,
Claudia Herrold
vice president, communications & public policy

June 11, 2010 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Are you engaged in sector-agnostic philanthropy?

I just finished reading an interview with Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, that caught my attention from his first sentence: “Foundation philanthropy is increasingly sector agnostic.”

Ralph’s use of the term ‘sector agnostic’ questions the traditional, exclusive partnership between foundations and nonprofits by suggesting that foundations can succeed only if they search for solutions to critical problems wherever they exist. This calls for foundations to invest in a much wider range of partners than they have previously, in the public, private and social sectors.

Now, I’ve heard Ralph Smith talk before so I knew that whatever he had to say would be thought-provoking and get me thinking ‘outside the box.’ I wasn’t disappointed in this interview, with his call for a broader and deeper array of partnerships to solve critical problems. Naturally, one of my first reactions was “What does this mean for nonprofits?” Turns out, I needn’t have worried about this – Ralph indeed recognizes three long-term responsibilities foundations have related to their nonprofit partners: develop a “disciplined social-capital market,” deal with compensation issues of nonprofit leaders (especially those related to retirement security) and strengthen the nonprofit sector’s infrastructure at local, state and national levels.

I’m looking forward to hearing Ralph speak on sector agnostic philanthropy at our annual conference. In the meantime, what do you think? Are you engaged in sector-agnostic partnerships? What have you learned from them?

Let’s talk.
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
vice president, communications & public policy

June 1, 2010 at 10:53 am Leave a comment


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