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
When I accepted the CEO position at Donors Forum, my friend Kate Maehr, President and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, gave me a simple and clear directive: "Create a movement." Her use of the word “movement” immediately caught my attention because it captures the idea of action and going somewhere exciting. We certainly are at a moment in time when our sector desperately needs to create a movement in Illinois in which social purpose organizations can flex their muscle, promote their value, and maximize their impact. Donors Forum is eager to lead this movement, working with all of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
The culmination of Valerie S. Lies’ 27 years as President and CEO of Donors Forum, along with the 40th anniversary of the organization, provided an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the past while looking at the changes that still are needed. Messages at Donors Forum’s 40th Anniversary Luncheon looked at ways the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors can move forward together in stronger partnerships based on learning from the past. The luncheon was the result of creativity and work by Donors Forum 40th Anniversary Committee, headed by Merri Ex, Family Focus, and Ernest Vasseur, Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Eric Weinheimer, 49, takes the helm as President and CEO of Donors Forum on July 1. He succeeds Valerie S. Lies, who retired on June 30 after 27 years in that position. Eric's selection as the new head of Donors Forum came in March. He comes to Donors Forum from The Cara Program, where since 1996 he served as President and CEO. The Cara Program is a nationally recognized, Chicago-based nonprofit that provides training, job placement, and support services to adults in Chicago struggling with poverty. Eric is only the third President and CEO of Donors Forum, the Illinois state... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Although lagging behind foundations in other states with regard to asset growth, Illinois foundation giving outpaced U.S. foundations overall, says the latest Giving in Illinois report issued today by Donors Forum, in partnership with The Foundation Center. The report is based on data from 2012 on grants of $10,000 or more that were awarded by foundations in a national sample to recipient organizations in Illinois. The sample included 404 large U.S. foundations, including 48 Illinois foundations. Giving in Illinois reveals the varying ways in which Illinois donors support nonprofits in the arts, health, human services, and several other nonprofit sectors.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Donors Forum is pleased to announce a new Board Officer and Board Members for its 2015 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015): Deborah Gillespie, Vice President of Finance and Administration and Secretary/Treasurer, The Joyce Foundation, is a new Vice Chair. New Board Members are DeRondal Bevly, Partner, Social Venture Partners Chicago; Sharon Bush, Elgin Program Director and Senior Program Officer, Grand Victoria Foundation; Evelyn Diaz, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services; Shelley Stern Grach, Director, Civic Engagement, Microsoft; Diana Hess, Senior Vice President, Spencer Foundation; Mark Ishaug, CEO, Thresholds; and Louise "Wegi" Ferry... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP) recently participated in a study about why Black professionals leave grant making institutions. Entitled The Exit Interview, the study was conducted by Association of Black Foundation Executive (ABFE), a philanthropic partnership for Black communities. The report aims to build the field’s collective knowledge of how to attract and retain diverse talent. Emerging data suggest that the experiences of many Black professionals in grantmaking institutions may challenge the current thinking on the field’s increasing commitment to diversity. Currently, only 3 percent of philanthropic institutions are led by Black chief executives, and the percentage of Black... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
This statement on our commitment to full-cost funding represents over two years of dialogue and discussion at Donors Forum about the importance of funding overhead costs of nonprofit organizations. Working in Illinois, with foundation and nonprofit leaders, and with others in the field nationally, we are collectively trying to shift... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at Real Talk About Real Costs
Image
This statement on our commitment to full-cost funding represents over two years of dialogue and discussion at Donors Forum about the importance of funding overhead costs of nonprofit organizations. Working in Illinois, with foundation and nonprofit leaders, and with others in the field nationally, we are collectively trying to shift the focus away from arbitrary limits on overhead and other organizational expenses in order to focus on measures of nonprofit effectiveness such as outcomes and impact. It is necessary for funders to adopt funding policies and practices that will allow the nonprofit to achieve those desired outcomes, without unrealistic expectations... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Breaking the nonprofit starvation cycle is not easy, but exciting progress keeps happening. A great deal of change is needed — the mindset that asks nonprofit organizations to get by with little to no administrative expenses has existed for a long time, and nonprofits are accustomed to scaling back, to making do with as little as possible, and surviving while hanging from their fingertips. Even though some organizations do not survive, that has not changed this entrenched mindset. Now, though, changes are happening all over. Donors Forum convened more than 30 foundation CEOs in May to talk about one such... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Contracting Issues Makes Budget More Critical to Sector Illinois is still among the worst in the country for late payments, as well as contracts not covering the full cost of services for nonprofit contractors, according to new state data released today from the Urban Institute. “Illinois’ ongoing fiscal crisis is going to have an immediate impact on people if the state cannot find solutions. As the state budget session heats up this month, it is imperative that Illinois seek and find budget solutions that preserve critical services to communities,” said Doug Schenkelberg, Vice President of Public Policy at Chicago-based Donors... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Donors Forum will be opening an office in Springfield in late May, in the same building as Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. And, Micah Roderick will join the Donors Forum staff as Manager, Network Development, a new position based in the Springfield office. Micah will facilitate support of the Good Works CONNECT network of community foundations and operating nonprofits in east-central Illinois. "Good Works CONNECT is vital to philanthropy and nonprofits in east-central Illinois," said Bruce Karmazin, Executive Director of the Lumpkin Family Foundation, based in Mattoon. "We are thrilled that Donors Forum is establishing a presence in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
Nonprofit Finance Fund's 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey has been released, and Donors Forum would like to share with you data on some of the most important trends affecting the Illinois nonprofit sector this year. Donors Forum helped promote participation in the survey among Illinois nonprofits. Leaders from more than 5,000 nonprofits nationwide (266 in Illinois) participated in this sixth annual survey. Respondents collectively paint a picture of a sector that cannot keep up with high demand for its services, while struggling to find the balance between meeting short-term needs and long-term sustainability. Many Illinois nonprofits reported daunting... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
The budget forecast for the State of Illinois carries with it the promise of painful decisions for nonprofit organizations, though how much pain will be felt will be determined by revenue and spending decisions that lie ahead. Given these difficulties, nonprofit organizations need to take immediate actions that can help them be prepared for coming changes and preserve important programs and functions. That was the thesis presented to participants of Donors Forum's 2014 State Budget Forum in April. The session featured a keynote address by Rich Miller, publisher of Capitol Fax, and a panel discussion moderated by Grace Hou, President... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2014 at the donors forum blog
Image
On behalf of our Board Chair, Donald A. Cooke, Senior Vice President for Philanthropy at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and our 40th Anniversary Co-chairs Merri Ex, President and CEO of Family Focus, and Ernest Vasseur, Executive Director of the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, we invite you to join more than 600 of your nonprofit and philanthropy colleagues to commemorate Donors Forum’s 40th anniversary Annual Luncheon! Event: Donors Forum’s 40th Anniversary Annual Luncheon When: Friday, June 20, 2014 from 11:15 am – 1:30 PM Where: Hilton Chicago Registration: Click here to register At the Luncheon, we will also... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at the donors forum blog
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