Philanthropy New York Currents May 2012


Dear Members,

Our Annual Meeting is only 3 weeks away—and while this is always an exciting time of year for us at Philanthropy New York, our panel with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York State Education Commissioner John B. King and New York City Chancellor Dennis Walcott promises to be one of our most memorable and informative sessions. We're almost at capacity, so if you haven't, please RSVP as soon as you can.

The panel discussion will be an opportunity for these education leaders to hear your concerns and ideas—and I encourage you to visit this special page on our Smart Assets blog to submit your questions ahead of time for consideration.

I also hope you will take advantage of the question-and-answer forums earlier in the day with David Firestone of The New York Times and Pedro Noguera of New York University. Both of these experts will help us explore new ways of looking at the intersection of philanthropy and public policy.

Whether or not you fund in the area of education, these leaders, both in the early sessions and the keynote panel, will help us think about the larger picture of public policy and the best ways for philanthropy to approach issues where the governmental sector plays a significant role.

Education is a complicated topic and our keynote panel is just over an hour, so there will be many issues and questions that we don't have the opportunity to discuss in this forum. However, our Education Working Group, chaired by Fred Frelow (Ford Foundation) and Rich McKeon (The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust), has provided just under 20 opportunities to meet with education leaders and peer funders to discuss the issues and work together to ensure your funding dollars are as effective and coordinated as possible.

The working group's next program, which will explore how to stem learning loss over the summer, is on June 11th, and we encourage you to join us there as well.

Whatever your funding focus might be, we believe that the June 4th Annual Meeting will provide insights as you think about your own work and mission. Please join us!

Best regards,

Ronna Brown
President, Philanthropy New York

Welcome New Members

Rockefeller Foundation Launches Centennial Initiative

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the launch of its Centennial initiative. The initiative, which will run through the end of 2013, marks 100 years since John D. Rockefeller started the Foundation on May 14, 1913, with the goal of "improving the well-being of humanity throughout the world."

The Centennial will celebrate the richness of the Foundation's past work and look ahead to the identification and development of innovations that address many of the challenges of the future.

The Foundation will host no fewer than seven convenings throughout the world that focus on a number of global issues, publish a series of books that draw on the Foundation's past to provide lessons for the future and engage with people through new digital platforms to encourage discussion on a variety of different issues and allow people to participate in centennial activities from all over the world.

"We forge boldly ahead, toward our second century, steadfast in our conviction that The Rockefeller Foundation's role—as a partner and a leader—has never been more crucial," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "We are proud to launch our Centennial initiative as we redouble our efforts to solve global problems into the next century of our work."

Visit The Rockefeller Foundation Centennial website.

The Heckscher Foundation Board Development Grant Program Request for Proposal

The Heckscher Foundation for Children seeks proposals for a new funding initiative focused on strengthening the boards of New York City-based organizations serving children and youth by engaging and developing a next generation of board leaders.

The funded project(s) will recruit, train, place and engage a group of young, promising board members who have the potential to help guide and lead City-based nonprofits for years to come, with the potential for expansion to a larger model for board development in NYC.

The deadline for applications is Friday, June 29, 2012.

Learn more about the Heckscher Foundation RFP.

15 Nonprofits to Receive Pro Bono Advice from Morgan Stanley's Strategy Challenge

The Strategy Challenge is Morgan Stanley's signature skills-based volunteer program and pairs teams of employees with leading nonprofits to provide strategic consulting.

Each of the 15 nonprofits will work with their team of Morgan Stanley employees for eight weeks. The teams will advise the nonprofits on issues relating to their business models and growth strategies and develop recommendations in order to help them fulfill their missions in more effective and efficient ways. The nonprofits work on causes ranging from youth development and microfinance to arts and culture and are based in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

"Through the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, charities across the country are getting specific advice and tools to help them address their scalability and growth potential in order to serve more people," said Joan Steinberg, Head of Morgan Stanley Community Affairs and President of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. "The Strategy Challenge, now in its fourth year, recognizes that nonprofits are critical to the health and vibrancy of the communities in which we live and work."

Learn more about the Challenge and the participating nonprofits.


  • The Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have elected Earl Lewis as the Foundation's next President, effective March 2013. Lewis will succeed Don M. Randel, who has served as President since 2006. Since July 2004, Lewis has been Emory University's Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs. He is also the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies. As Provost, Lewis is Emory University's chief academic officer, overseeing the educational policies and priorities of the University and appointments of faculty across the schools and divisions.
  • The Aspen Institute has announced the election of six new members to its Board of Trustees, including Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.


(View a full text, PDF version of Philanthropy New York Currents, May 2012.)


Members in the News & Resources

  • Impact Investing: Will It Make a Difference?
    Source: U.S. News and World Report, May 11, 2012
    This examination of impact investing includes mentions of the F.B. Heron Foundation, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan Chase and UBS.
  • White House Seeks to Spur Innovative Spending by Foundations
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 10, 2012
    The Obama administration has proposed new rules designed to encourage foundations to spend money to promote the social good in ways other than grants, including low-interest loans, stock purchases in for-profit companies and other program-related investments.
  • Ford Foundation Gives $50-Million to Push for Longer School Days
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 10, 2012
    Calling efforts to extend school days “the beginnings of a national movement,” the foundation has announced it will put $50 million into efforts to push for additional learning time at schools in poor neighborhoods across the country.
  • Steering a Foundation as Rich as Rockefeller
    Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2012
    An interview with Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • With an Eye on the Court, Foundations Help States Adopt Health Law
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 29, 2012 (subscription required)
    The Nathan Cummings Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies are among several foundations working to support both the Affordable Care Act and a fund dedicated to helping states put it into effect.
  • Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation CEO: 'Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch'
    Source: Forbes, April 23, 2012
    Dr. Rodin discusses the Rockefeller Foundation’s upcoming 100-year anniversary and the evolution of the philanthropic sector, the role of innovation in achieving human progress and more.
  • Giving-Pledge Members Now Number 81
    Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 19, 2012
    The newest members to commit to the Giving Pledge include Edgar M. Bronfman, President of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation.
  • The 100 Best Corporate Citizens
    Source: Forbes, April 18, 2012
    Several Philanthropy New York members appeared on CR Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, including IBM at number 2.
  • Columbus Survey 2011: Guideposts for Navigating Peaks and Valleys
    Published by the Council on Foundations and CF Insights, May 2012
    This comprehensive report on community foundation assets, gifts and grants for 2011 is based on data gathered from 290 community foundations, including 97 of the 100 largest foundations. The survey reveals the high points and challenges of 2011, signaling a “cautious optimism” as community foundations continue to operate in an environment of economic volatility.
  • Learn Foundation Law
    April 2012
    The legal staff at the David and Lucile Packard, Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett, and Gordon and Betty Moore foundations have developed this free, first-of-its-kind online resource, which covers the basic legal rules around what staff are allowed to fund and engage in at a private foundation, including how lobbying laws apply to private foundations, who and what they can legally fund, the types of grants private foundations are allowed to provide and how to fund projects when advocacy and lobbying are involved.
  • Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leading Corporate Philanthropy
    Published by the Council on Foundations, April 2012
    PDF, 1.6 MB

    What is the role of corporate philanthropy in business and society? This guide offers original field research and provides clear and practical paths forward for the future of the field and the role of corporate foundations, including a five element agenda for leaders of corporate foundations and giving programs to advance their practice and profession.
  • Scanning the Landscape 2.0: Finding Out What’s Going on in Your Field
    Published by GrantCraft, April 2012
    GrantCraft talked with funders working in the U.S., Europe and internationally about when, why and how it’s useful to scan the landscape for new ideas and new directions. An update of their 2004 publication, with 15 new interviews, Scan 2.0 is filled with examples of scans that have helped funders find a strategic direction, hear from key constituencies, understand emerging issues, map the funding environment and synthesize information and find gaps.
  • Building Arts Organizations That Build Audiences
    Published by The Wallace Foundation, March 2012
    PDF, 3.6 MB

    This report, documenting a June 2011 Wallace conference of foundation-supported arts groups, researchers and others, provides some potential answers about what works—and what doesn’t—in developing audiences for and building participation in the arts.