This is Donors Forum's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Donors Forum's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Donors Forum
Chicago, IL
for and about philanthropy and nonprofits in Illinois
Interests: chicago, nonprofits, philanthropy, illinois, fundraising, development, governance, capacity building, boards, grantmaking, social sector
Recent Activity
Image
“Democracy is in trouble,” said Diana Hess, Senior Vice President of the Spencer Foundation, to open a breakfast discussion with Donors Forum's Members and Partners on March 18. The program, Strengthening Democracy: Our Sector’s Vital Role, covered the roles nonprofit organizations and foundations can play in strengthening the underpinnings and institutions of government. Speakers and panelists were blunt in their assessments of the issue. “The system is rigged,” said Robert Gallucci, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in his keynote address. He identified voter disenfranchisement, closed and obtuse redistricting processes, distorted media and communications systems, income... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
The language we use to convey our ideas and engage people in dialogue can catalyze change. In fact, many of my favorite moments from GEO’s 2014 conference featured a new frame or fresh way to talk about an old, complicated concept. Thanks to Jessica Bearman, Carol Cantwell and Molly Shultz... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Real Talk About Real Costs
Image
The language we use to convey our ideas and engage people in dialogue can catalyze change. In fact, many of my favorite moments from GEO’s 2014 conference featured a new frame or fresh way to talk about an old, complicated concept. Thanks to Jessica Bearman, Carol Cantwell and Molly Shultz Hafid’s discussion of fake funder budgets, many of us changed how we think about the due diligence and reporting process. Those of us seeking to disrupt the nonprofit starvation cycle and change practice around overhead caps recognize that if we want to see field-wide change, then we need to fine-tune... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
The Board of Directors of Donors Forum announced Eric Weinheimer as the new President and CEO of Donors Forum, effective July 1, 2014. He will succeed Valerie S. Lies, who will retire on June 30 after 27 years in that position. Mr. Weinheimer is currently President and CEO of The Cara Program, a nationally recognized, Chicago-based nonprofit that provides training, job placement, and support services to adults in Chicago struggling with poverty. He joins as only the third President and CEO of Donors Forum, the Illinois state membership association of grantmakers, nonprofits, and their advisors. "Eric has the energy, skills,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum kicked off its 40th Anniversary Year on a frigid January 28, when more than 300 Members, Partners, and Associate Members gathered at the Museum of Broadcast Communications for a program and reception. The generous sponsors who made this event possible are listed below. Opening the program was Donald A. Cooke, Senior Vice President for Philanthropy at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Chair, Donors Forum Board of Directors. He welcomed the crowd and underscored the significance of the event: the beginning of a year-long recognition of Donors Forum's 40 years of strengthening philanthropy and the nonprofit community in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
We know that nonprofit organizations that invest adequately in staffing and infrastructure (otherwise known as “overhead”) are better able to carry out their missions, but there are too many roadblocks that prevent nonprofits from strengthening their capacity. Many organizations and their funders are locked in a vicious cycle in which nonprofits are pressured to under-invest in overhead and to under-report their true overhead costs. Building on the work that Donors Forum and The Bridgespan Group began at our Real Talk About Real Costs convening last year, we invited 22 national leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropy, and government sectors to Chicago... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Ken Berger, CEO of Charity Navigator, proposes writing a followup to the Overhead Myth letter "to the Foundations and Nonprofits of America, urging them to make sure that they do whatever it takes to build the capacity to manage and measure results." Read the full article here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at Real Talk About Real Costs
Image
I think we can all agree that it’s an interesting time to be a public health funder. We work within an expansive, challenging, and barrier ridden environment -- one which requires us to keep a watchful eye on current successes, new opportunities, and future possibilities. Here in the metro-Chicago area we are fortunate to have colleagues that work together within philanthropy and across disciplines and silos, helping to ensure that our grantmaking is impactful and progressive. Not all other regions are as fortunate, though, and consequently there are public health agencies, and indeed, public health leaders that are simply not... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum has released Engaging for Greater Impact: A Review of Collective Action Initiatives in Illinois, the first inventory of its kind in Illinois focused on identifying collective action initiatives around the state. As Donors Forum launches Engaging for Impact, its new strategic plan, we aim to move toward supporting and accelerating collective action work involving nonprofits, funders, government and others to create sustainable change for the communities of Illinois and the Illinois philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Cross-sector work has proliferated in recent years because many problems are just too big and complex for any single organization, agency of government,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Sterling Speirn, nationally known speaker on nonprofit and philanthropy issues and recent past President of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was the keynote speaker at our 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Event on Jan. 28. His theme -- creating collaborative advantages instead of competitive advantages -- related directly to Engaging for Impact, Donors Forum's strategic plan. Under the framework of the plan, Donors Forum is working to build the relationships and networks necessary to bring together groups to effectively collaborate on a common agenda. Mr. Speirn’s remarks focused on the need for re-invention, not just of Donors Forum but within and between society's... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
With decisions in our capitols having a direct impact on philanthropic and nonprofit missions and operations, it is important to have a voice with decision makers. No matter the skill level or knowledge, effective advocacy relies on collective voices being raised in support of philanthropy’s value and impact. We invite any foundation member to join Donors Forum staff on our 2014 Foundations on the Hill (March 4-6, 2013) trip to share with congressional staff the value and impact of philanthropy to their districts. With a more favorable policy environment, philanthropic missions will have a deeper impact in our communities. Meeting... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Beginning this month and throughout 2014, Donors Forum is celebrating its 40th anniversary year -- that's four decades of strengthening Illinois and the nonprofit community! "2014 marks an amazing milestone for Donors Forum," said Board Chair Donald A. Cooke, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. "In addition to looking back at our many achievements in service and innovation for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, we are looking ahead as we begin implementation of Engaging for Impact, Donors Forum's new strategic plan." "We've been fortunate to have had many successes and learned many lessons over the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
A group of more than 100 nonprofit and grantmaker CEOs, board members, and staff gathered in December to discuss how to develop more diverse organizations. The event was presented by Donors Forum and sponsored by Exelon. Panelists -- each of whom has shown a commitment to diversity by leading their organization to develop internal processes and a culture that promotes and values diversity -- included Gloria Castillo of Chicago United, Terry Manzany of The Chicago Community Trust, and John Rogers of Ariel Investments. Steve Solomon of The Exelon Foundation moderated the discussion. Key take-aways from the discussion included: Diverse organizations... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum has published Streamlining Across the Divide: Illinois Grantmakers and Grantseekers Tackle Streamlining Together, the result of our Community of Practice on Streamlining. Over the course of 2012, a group of grantmaking Members and nonprofit Partners focused on the impact of application and reporting practices on both funders and nonprofits, and explored ways to minimize the burden while maximizing the effectiveness of grantmaking. Through candid conversations and exploration in a safe space, participants gained insight into the challenges faced by colleagues on both sides of the fundraising equation. Here's the report in a snapshot: Illinois grantmakers have embraced the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum's President and CEO, Valerie S. Lies, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Community Leader Award, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Chicago. The award recognizes an individual who has shown extraordinary leadership and advocacy for a cause that has resulted in a significant and positive change for a particular neighborhood, issues, or segment of our society. It also honors those who demonostrate high ethical standards and exemplify the philanthropic spirit of Chicago. Valerie has been President and CEO of Donors Forum since 1987, and will retire in June. Through the years she... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
“Those who learn to collaborate and improvise are most effectively able to prevail. If you are able to cooperate, you are going to make it. If you go your own way, you are going to fail.” That was a lesson from the work of Charles Darwin that keynote speaker Kyle Caldwell, Program Director at the C.S. Mott Foundation, delivered to an audience of grantmakers, nonprofit representatives, and public officials at Donors Forum's recent Nonprofit Summit. This theme of partnership and collaboration was echoed by the other speakers and panelists, who noted the importance of partnerships between the public and nonprofit... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2013 at the donors forum blog
After pausing to reflect on our gratitude on Thanksgiving and beginning the holiday buying season with zeal on Black Friday, December 3 is an opportunity to give to others by participating in #GivingTuesday. Show your support of organizations solving problems in your community and people in need by making a gift on December 3 – known as #GivingTuesday– to nonprofit organizations having a positive impact. Nonprofits rely heavily on end-of-the-year contributions to support their work, and your generosity enables them to continue having an impact in their communities by serving clients and building strong organizations. As you consider which organizations... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
As Illinois moves into Budgeting for Results, officials are working to identify programs that improve outcomes while reducing costs, which can help the budget situation while making services more effective and efficient. Social impact bonds are a relatively new tool that can give investors and grantmakers new options for supporting activities with concrete results and real savings. The effectiveness of the tool, the ways it can be used, and what results it will bring are all open question. State officials, investors, and grantmakers will be watching the process to see what the results will be and how the tool can... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
Illinois-based Rainbow House, which provides critical services to victims of domestic violence, was impacted hard by the shutdown of the federal government and continues to be impacted even after the shutdown was lifted. Kathleen Higgins, Executive Director of Rainbow House, answered a few questions via email to highlight the challenges created by the shutdown. This Q&A supplements a Huffington Post article written by Donors Forum's President and CEO Valerie S. Lies about the impact of the shutdown on nonprofits in Illinois. A link to the article will be included here when it is posted. What has been the impact of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
In 2012 Donors Forum partnered with the Sara Lee Foundation* to provide capacity building services to their grantees. The project began in Phase I organizational assessments of all their grantees who provide hunger-fighting services. The results indicated that the organizations, while doing great work in the community, often struggled with evaluating their programs. As a result, Phase II of the program was launched with a four-month long program focused on enhancing the organizations' internal program evaluation skills. Matt Pakula, Senior Manager of Communications and Corporate Contributions at The Hillshire Brands Company and Director of the Hillshire Brands Foundation, visited with... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum will commemorate its 40th anniversary throughout 2014, celebrating four decades of strengthening Illinois philanthropy and the nonprofit community. Although 2014 is still a few weeks away, we've been hard at work since summer planning commemorative initiatives and activities. A 40th Anniversary Committee, co-chaired by Merri Ex from Family Focus, Inc. and Ernest Vasseur from Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, was formed and is meeting regularly. Engaging for Impact will be our 40th anniversary theme, and we've chosen a logo (to the left) as a graphic representation of our anniversary theme and year. In the planning stages now... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
In previous posts, Donors Forum has discussed how the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis has created a backlog of payments to nonprofits, leading many organizations to trim critical programs and lay off staff. According to statements made by State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in July, the payment backlog is estimated to reach $9 billion by the end of 2013. This delay in payment is detrimental not only to the nonprofit sector, but to the state as a whole. It goes without saying that nonprofits provide critical services to the people of Illinois every day. But, did you know that nonprofits employ... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
Understanding the ways in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA)will affect small organizations and change the shape of the health care market isn't easy, especially with the large amount of misinformation that has been spread about the law. To help make the picture clearer, Donors Forum’s Chicago Grantmakers for Effective Organizations hosted a session on Small Organizations in the Wake of the Affordable Care Act. Stephanie Altman, Health and Disabilities Advocates, Kathy Chan, EverThrive Illinois, and Judith Haasis, Community Health, provided detailed information about what organizations can expect in the new environment and how the coming changes will affect them... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum, in partnership with the Chicago Police Department, has just launched a second cycle of the Force For Good program. This program was first created in 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to assist community and faith-based nonprofits with increasing their capacity to provide needed services to neighborhoods hardest hit by violent crime. In announcing its creation, Superintendent McCarthy said, “The Chicago Police Department relies on community organizations as our partners to help stem crime before it begins. This effort is part of our commitment to work closely with the communities we serve in order... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at the donors forum blog
Editor's note: Valerie S. Lies, Donors Forum's President and CEO, announced earlier this year that she will retire as of June 30, 2014. She has led Donors Forum since 1987. Read more here. The Donors Forum Board of Directors is employing best practices for a thoughtful, careful, and smooth executive transition. The search for the next President and CEO of Donors Forum is underway. The Transition Committee is moving forward and a search firm has been selected. Here is an update on the process and an invitation to share your thoughts as we move forward. Donors Forum Transition Committee and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2013 at the donors forum blog