Philanthropy New York Currents October 2011


Dear Members,

Many of our 140-plus programs are dedicated to your professional development—and we are now working on several new series that offer a deeper, more immersive learning experience. The first is Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers (ESS), which kicks off on November 2nd with a welcome dinner and then runs on November 7th and 9th here at Philanthropy New York.

ESS is the result of a partnership between several regional associations, the Council on Foundations, and the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers. It is an intensive course designed to provide a thorough introduction to grantmaking and philanthropy for program officers with less than two years of experience in the philanthropic sector and give these new grantmakers the knowledge, insight, skills, and tools to be effective in their work.

The highly interactive sessions will help newcomers to the field build a framework for understanding ethical and effective grantmaking and engage with their peers around the expectations, core tensions, opportunities, and challenges of foundation work. The session teachers, all from our membership, have extensive experience in philanthropy, including their current duties at the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Citi Foundation.

There has been an overwhelming interest in ESS among our members—which unfortunately means that we quickly reached our limit for November's participants and had to say no to many of you. We're keeping the class size small to create the best learning environment and core dynamic for this initial group. Given the interest, we will make this program available again in the future, along with other upcoming series featuring this same type of intensive, focused learning opportunity, for more senior grantmakers.

As always, we welcome your input and opinions on the ways that we can optimize professional development for you, as well as your suggestions for the types of programs you'd like to see in 2012.

Best regards,

Ronna Brown
President, Philanthropy New York

Welcome New Members

2011 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Recipients Announced

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced the winners of the 2011 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Now in its 10th year, the Carnegie Medal is awarded every two years to individuals and families in recognition of their exceptional and sustained records of philanthropic giving as well as the important and lasting impact their philanthropy has had on a field, nation, or on the international community.

The 2011 winners received the medal at an invitation-only ceremony at the New York Public Library on October 20th, hosted by Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent at the PBS NewsHour.

"We are honored to bestow the 2011 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy on truly extraordinary individuals and families who have demonstrated an exemplary, longstanding commitment to philanthropy," said Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. "This year's medalists were selected because their vision of philanthropy reflects the ideals of Andrew Carnegie, who asserted that the rich are 'trustees' of their wealth and are under a moral obligation to reinvest it in society in ways that promote the progress of society."

Learn more about the winners of the 2011 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

New York Life Contributes More Than 6,000 Volunteer Hours During Month of Service

New York Life Insurance Company held the company's Month of Service in September and had more than 1,600 employees and agents volunteer in their local communities where the company does business. Volunteers worked on 116 community projects to support the theme of childhood bereavement and gave more than 6,000 hours of service—the equivalent of 3.3 people working full-time for an entire year. The estimated monetary value of this volunteer time is more than $128,000.

"While New York Life has provided peace of mind and financial security to families after the loss of a loved one for 166 years, helping others in need goes beyond the reach of our business, it's part of our culture," said Chris Park, President of the New York Life Foundation. "The Foundation added childhood bereavement as a content area in 2008, and by choosing the theme of childhood bereavement for the company's Month of Service this year we are able to add people power to highlight the importance of this issue. Our agents and employees were able to offer their time and talent and improve the lives of young people and their families coping with loss in the cities and towns where they live and work."

Also last month, the New York Life Foundation announced the launch of, a comprehensive, user-friendly website for parents, families, and educators to support bereaved children. The site will continually be enhanced and most recently a video was added, "Learn to Help a Child Through Grief," featuring Ms. Park and Dr. David Schonfeld, a developmental behavioral pediatrician and an authority in the field of childhood bereavement.

The Citi Foundation Launches New Website

The Citi Foundation's redesigned website provides a wide array of information on the work of the foundation, whose mission is to support the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of low- to moderate-income individuals and families in communities where Citi operates.
"Through this new format, we intend to highlight our investment strategy that is resulting in impactful contributions to move people closer to sustained economic stability and prosperity as well as contributing to the global discourse around financial inclusion issues," said Pam Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship at Citi.
The site features several new sections, highlighting how the foundation invests in its mission; its thought leadership and knowledge-building activities for policymakers and the financial services sector; and the collaborative problem solving, program development, and skill-based volunteering that leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its employees.

Visit the new Citi Foundation website.

Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Gibbs Announce Group Purchasing Now Available for New York City Nonprofits

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs have announced that Essensa, a New York-based group purchasing organization, will be offering membership to nonprofits working with New York City. As the latest addition to a set of initiatives Mayor Bloomberg announced in 2009 to assist New York City's nonprofits, this group purchasing plan will help maximize savings on purchases and give New York City-funded nonprofits access to discounts on a wide range of goods and services.

"With more than 40,000 nonprofits calling New York City their home, a strong nonprofit sector is vital to job creation and it is equally vital that New York City support these businesses," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In 2009 we took several steps to help the nonprofit sector survive and strengthen and today, with group purchasing discounts, we deliver further on that commitment."

"We are proud to have been part of the development of this unique approach that will reduce costs for New York City nonprofits and enable them to put the dollars saved toward essential services during these challenging times," said Gordon Campbell, President & CEO of United Way of New York City. "We thank the administration for thinking outside of the box and for this critical support of the sector.

Learn more about this new initiative.


  • Anne C. Beal, M.D., M.P.H., President of the Aetna Foundation, has accepted an offer to join the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in Washington, DC as its Chief Operating Officer. PCORI was established by Congress through the Affordable Care Act to conduct research to help patients and their healthcare providers make better informed decisions. "While I am saddened that Anne is leaving Aetna and the Foundation, I know that her new role will provide her with significant opportunity to influence the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system," said Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini. "Since joining the Foundation as President in 2009, Anne has significantly enhanced our philanthropic efforts by refocusing our grantmaking to improve the health of children and adults and to make the healthcare system more equitable and effective. We at Aetna and the Aetna Foundation wish Anne well in her new role."
  • Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, one of the subjects of the documentary Women, War & Peace: War Redefined, and a panelist during our September 12th Documentary Series screening of the film, is one of the recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The Sister Fund and its Founder, Helen LaKelly Hunt, were honored at the 10th anniversary gala for Women for Afghan Women (WAW) on October 20th. The event, which featured internationally renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour as keynote speaker, commemorated WAW's work advocating for the rights and security of Afghan women in New York and across Afghanistan.


(View a full text, PDF version of Philanthropy New York Currents, October 2011.)


  • Transitions, October 2011
    New appointments and promotions at the Arcus Foundation, the Cricket Island Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Members in the News & Resources

  • The 2011 Philanthropy 400
    In this edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual ranking of the 400 groups that raise the most from private sources, they found that organizations collected a total of $70.3 billion last year, and that the nation’s most successful fundraising groups appear to be pulling out of the recession—but only some types of nonprofits are prospering, and the struggles faced by the rest paint a far more worrisome picture than the overall projection suggests.
  • A Consumers Guide to Grants Management Software
    Published by Idealware, October 2011
    Completely updated in 2011, this free 169-page guide looks at the features and processes used by 20 grants management systems to help private foundations accept and review applications and track grants throughout their life cycles. It compares the strengths and weaknesses of the 20 different grants management packages, showing how they stack up against 17 high-level categories, and then detailing the functionality of each for more than 125 specific criteria.
  • Backing Arts With Benefits
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2011
    The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's President and CEO, Ed Henry, and Program Director for the Arts, Ben Cameron, talk about the The Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative, the foundation's $50 million plan to give 200 individual artists in jazz, theater, and contemporary dance a reliable temporary income and a retirement incentive.
  • An In-depth Interview on International Development with Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation
    Source: Forbes, October 20, 2011
    Ms. Calvin discusses the United Nations system in modern times, new and emerging trends in international development, President Obama’s engagement with the U.N. since taking office, and both current and future efforts of the UN Foundation.
  • What Really Counts: Measuring RoI
    Source: RE: Philanthropy, October 19, 2011
    In this blog post, Caroline Roan, President of the Pfizer Foundation and Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, and Atiya Weiss, Senior Manager of Corporate Responsibility, describe how they use return on investment (RoI) evaluation at their organization.
  • Arts Funding Does Not Reflect Nation's Diversity, Report Finds
    Source: Philanthropy News Digest (PND), October 12, 2011
    A new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy argues that foundation funding for the arts benefits a mostly wealthy, white audience, with only a small percentage going to groups that serve poorer, more ethnically diverse communities. Maurine Knighton, Director of the Arts and Culture program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, also shares her thoughts.
  • 'Occupy Wall Street' protests test left's determination
    Source: USA Today, October 11, 2011
    North Star Fund Executive Director Hugh Hogan is quoted in this analysis of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
  • Study: Worst hospitals treat larger share of poor
    Source: The Associated Press, October 5, 2011
    New research funded by The Commonwealth Fund shows that the nation's worst hospitals treat twice the proportion of elderly black patients and poor patients than the best hospitals, and their patients are more likely to die of heart attacks and pneumonia.
  • Soros Giving $27.4 Million to Village Project
    Source: The New York Times, October 3, 2011
    The donation from the founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations will aid development in targeted villages across rural Africa.
  • A Grant Maker Helps Incubate Innovation in the Arts
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (registration required), October 2, 2011
    Ben Cameron of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation talks about programs at his foundation designed to help arts groups rethink how they operate.
  • Foundations & Social Media
    Source: Storify, October 1, 2011
    Philanthropy New York's program "Good Grantmaking: What's Social Media Got to do With It?" featured a Twitter chat with several grantmakers, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the IDP Foundation, and the Ms. Foundation for Women.
  • Social Good Summit: Digital Philanthropy Grows Up
    Source: MediaShift, September 27, 2011
    This article provides highlights from the second Social Good Summit, presented by Mashable, 92nd Street Y, and the United Nations Foundation for "the most innovative technologists, influential minds, and passionate activists [to come together] to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place."
  • A 'Flip' Chat With...Gara LaMarche, Senior Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service
    Source: PhilanTopic, September 19, 2011
    Mr. LaMarche shared some of his thoughts immediately after moderating the Philanthropy New York program "Balancing Civil Rights & National Security: A Debate Led by Gara LaMarche."
  • Consortium Views Arts as Engines of Recovery
    Source: The New York Times, September 14, 2011
    A consortium of foundations, corporations, and federal agencies—including the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bank of America, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley—will use artistic and cultural enterprises to anchor and support development in 34 projects around the country, from a struggling city block in Detroit to a vacant school in East Harlem. (Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas is also quoted in the article.)