Philanthropy Southeast's Blog

Engage, Philanthropy Southeast's blog, is a space for members, staff and partners to share their thoughts on the latest trends and best practices in philanthropy. Engage is also used for important announcements about upcoming Philanthropy Southeast events and programs.

Do you have a story or insight you’d like to share with our members on Engage? Contact David Miller, vice president of strategic communications, at or at (404) 524-0911 to discuss your idea.


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Last Week's Events and What's Next

Author: Janine Lee and Robert Dortch


Last week, we found ourselves in a previously unthinkable position: needing to cancel the Annual Meeting due to a mandatory evacuation order at our host hotel in Amelia Island.

While weather is always a concern at this time of year in the Southeast, not once in our 53-year history had we faced this situation before. The closest we had ever come was 2005, when our meeting in Marco Island came two weeks after a hurricane that made our overflow hotel unavailable.

This time was different: Hurricane Nicole was set to make landfall while the meeting was taking place. Flights in and out of Jacksonville were being delayed and cancelled. Weather forecasts called for severe coastal flooding – a major concern at a hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The double red flags snapping in the strong winds, signaling the closure of the beach, provided a clear warning that these conditions could not be ignored.

We are so sad that we were unable to come together – and we know that many of you feel the same way. We have literally been moved to tears reading the many messages we have received from members following the Annual Meeting's cancellation.

Planning for the 53rd Annual Meeting began a year ago and required the work of our entire staff plus dozens of member volunteers. We want to thank each of them for what they brought to this process – your work is deeply appreciated, and you should be proud of what you built!

We are beyond grateful that our entire team and all our attendees were moved out of harm's way before the worst effects of Hurricane Nicole hit northeast Florida. We appreciate the staff at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island who stayed in constant communication with our staff and helped facilitate a quick, yet calm, evacuation and relocation.

We also want to thank everyone who chose to not make the trip to Amelia Island as it became clear weather could be an issue. Your decision made taking care of those already on-site a much easier task.


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Southeastern Soundings – Extended Edition (Spring 2022)

Tags: Inspiration 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Southeastern Soundings, a regular feature of our Inspiration magazine, highlights new hires, promotions and board appointments by our members. For this issue, we had more announcements than would fit in our print edition, so we’re publishing an extended roundup online. Congratulations to all the people mentioned here!

If your organization has welcomed a new staff member or trustee, or promoted an existing staff member, we want to know! Please email the information to David Miller at


Jennifer Gray is the new executive director of the Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation, taking over from Jera Stribling, who has stepped down following 26 years at the foundation. Gray was most recently program manager at the Daniel Foundation of Alabama. Stribling will continue to serve as executive director of Alabama Giving.

The Duke Endowment has elected Allyson K. Duncan to its board. Duncan served as a judge on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from 2003 until her retirement in 2019.

Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, a pediatrician, Dr. Jack Porter, a retired dentist, and Lisa John-Adams of Nucor Steel Arkansas were recently elected to the Arkansas Community Foundation’s board of directors. The foundation has also hired Annetta Tirey, formerly with the NorthWest Arkansas Community College Foundation, as program officer.

The EyeSight Foundation of Alabama has named Barbara Evers as executive director, succeeding Torrey DeKeyser. Evers most recently worked at the accounting firm of Truitt Tingle Paramore & Argent.

The Harvest Foundation board of directors has three new members: Travis Hodge, Sharon Ortiz-Garcíaand Anne Smith. Smith is the chief administrative officer and president of domestic upholstery at Hooker Furniture. Hodge is the human resources director for the City of Martinsville. Ortiz-García is the senior epidemiologist at the Martinsville office for the Virginia Department of Health.

Sara Bell is the new president and CEO of the Polk County Community Foundation. A co-owner of two local businesses, she had previously served on the foundation’s board.

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has welcomed four new board members: Michèle Alexandre, dean and professor at the Stetson University College of Law; Stacy Conroy, attorney and Florida Holocaust Museum board member; Kevin Sneed, dean of USF’s Taneja College of Pharmacy; and Nichelle Threadgill, chief medical officer at the Community Health Centers of Pinellas.

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Staff Highlight: Utoia Wooten

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Utoia Wooten, Philanthropy Southeast’s new Senior Programs Associate, comes to the organization with a clear commitment to courageous leadership.

“Courageous leadership requires a vision,” said Utoia, who joined the staff earlier in March. “It means you are willing to ask and answer difficult questions. It means you have the humility to admit what you don’t know and the openness and willingness to listen and learn from the people you are leading.”

Philanthropy Southeast’s own Courageous Leadership strategy was one of several factors that drew Utoia to her new role. Another was a familiarity that grew during her time at the Foundation Center, now known as Candid. At the Foundation Center’s Atlanta office, Utoia served as a community outreach manager and training manager.

“During my time at Foundation Center, I developed issue-specific programming for nonprofit leaders and served as a connector among grantmakers, nonprofit leaders, and other community stakeholders,” she said. “Philanthropy Southeast was a significant resource when I was new to issue-specific programming.”

Programming will be a critical part of Utoia’s work at Philanthropy Southeast, especially with the return of in-person events like next month’s CEO Forum and the upcoming Hull Fellows spring retreat. Utoia will also support Philanthropy Southeast’s resource development work, something she has plenty of familiarity with as a resource development consultant for the Georgia Family Connection Partnership.

“As I support core programming efforts and partnerships initiatives, creating a space for listening, learning, and collaboration is always at the forefront,” she said. “I view my role as setting the stage and providing the resources. Our members are doing the work that will keep me inspired.”

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The 2022 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey is Open!

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The 2022 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey is now open to participants. Since 1980, the annual Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Survey has provided the philanthropic sector with the most comprehensive data on foundation staff and board compensation. Grantmakers across the U.S. rely on the survey findings to inform budgeting, talent recruitment and retention strategies.

Your participation in the GSB survey is needed – the greater the participation, the greater the insights for the sector and for your fellow Philanthropy Southeast members. Through a partnership with the Council on Foundations (COF), Philanthropy Southeast provides custom salary tables for grantmakers from our region each fall.

How can your foundation participate?
Visit the COF website to learn more and for detailed instructions on how to complete the survey.

What are the benefits for participating organizations?
All survey participants (both COF members and non-members) will receive a copy of the full GSB report (a $598value), early access to data tables from the report, and access to COF’s benchmarking platform to create custom salary reports. Reports and data are expected to be released in fall 2022.

First time completing the GSB survey?
See this page for answers to frequently asked questions as well as a list of documents you’ll need to complete the survey.

The survey will close on May 10, 2022. Thank you in advance for your participation!

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2021 Annual Report: Leading with Courage, Committed to Equity

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Today, Philanthropy Southeast released its 2021 Annual Report. Read the introduction from President & CEO Janine Lee, then view the full report!

Looking back on the past year, I see many contrasts. We saw vaccines save countless lives, yet the pandemic that necessitated them is still with us. On one day, the state of Georgia sent a Black man and a Jewish man to the U.S. Senate for the first time – and on the very next day, a violent attack on the Capitol, fueled by disinformation, showed that we cannot take progress, or even democracy, for granted. In philanthropy, our words and actions demonstrated a clear commitment to addressing long-running disparities and systemic inequity – but actual progress for marginalized people and communities remains elusive.

Yet in a year of mixed signals, there was no mistaking that Philanthropy Southeast, both as an organization and a community, is moving purposefully and bravely into the future:


  • Even though our members spent most of the year unable to come together in person, they remained strongly engaged – with our organization and with each other – and eager to continually improve themselves and their organizations.

  • The commitment to equity first outlined in our Equity Framework led directly into last year’s adoption of a new Courageous Leadership Strategy, numerous offerings that attracted strong interest from members, and internal changes that integrate equity, as a value, into our governance and operations.
  • Our members accelerated this work through their volunteer leadership – and validated it through the support they provided to our Sustainability Campaign and first in-person Annual Meeting in two years.
  • Our new name, Philanthropy Southeast, reflects our embrace of an inclusive vision of philanthropy – a big tent that welcomes many forms of giving by many types of organizations. This broad view of philanthropy is critical to mobilizing the people and resources necessary to build an equitable, prosperous South.

The progress and achievements of the past year could not have been done without you – your work in communities across the region motivates our staff, Board and committee leaders every day. Thank you for what you do – and for inspiring all of us!



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Our New Website Debuts Next Week – Here’s What You Need to Know

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Since last year’s Annual Meeting, the Philanthropy Southeast team has been working to roll out our new name, along with a new look and feel that captures the inclusive, courageous community we are today.

Next week, the most visible step in this change will take place as we switch to a new website,!

Our new site will go online the morning of Monday, January 31. Any bookmarks you have to the homepage should automatically redirect to However, if you have bookmarks to other pages on our site, you will need to change those to reflect the new URL. Your login and password will not change.

Along with a new website, our team will also begin using new email addresses on Monday. These will have the same format as before but will end in If you send an email to an address, it should automatically forward, but please update your contacts!

While we have made every effort to ensure this transition is seamless, it is still possible there will be some downtime or reduced access on Monday. Beyond our website, this change may also temporarily affect the functionality of our Member Listservs and Mobile App. However, we will work to keep any disruptions to a minimum. You will also be able to reach our team anytime by calling (404) 524-9011. We will also post updates on our Twitter account as needed.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make these changes – thank you for your support of Philanthropy Southeast!

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All About Our New Name - And Why It's Happening

Author: Janine Lee


Last week’s Annual Meeting was incredible for many reasons, but near the top of the list was our announcement of a new name for our organization: Philanthropy Southeast!

Since many people were not able to join us in Asheville this year, I wanted to take some time here to talk about our new name, the process that led up to it and what it means for our members going forward.

Philanthropy Southeast represents what we are today: an inclusive and courageous community of leaders working together for change, committed to a vision of a just and equitable South. We embrace philanthropy in all its forms – a “big tent” that welcomes many types of organizations and many forms of philanthropic capital. We focus not only on how philanthropy is done, but also the issues it addresses and the communities it serves.

Our new name was approved by an overwhelming majority in a vote of our members conducted ahead of this year’s Annual Meeting. I believe that margin was a result of the deliberate and thoughtful approach we took to this process, which began when we were planning our 50th Anniversary in 2019.

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Submit Your Nominee for the 2021 Truist Promise Award

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This year’s Annual Meeting will include the second presentation of the Truist Promise Award recognizing innovative philanthropy in the Southeast! Last year, this prestigious honor honored work done by two SECF members: the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Nominations for this year’s Truist Promise Award are now open. The award recognizes a particular initiative and/or innovative grantmaking strategy or approach, done by an individual organization or through a collective partnership – as such, it may be presented to more than one foundation if the initiative is a product of partnership and collaboration.

The Truist Promise Award recognizes work that focuses on significant and systemic issues facing the region and the country today. In addition, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Work focused on issues of racial equity, racial justice or anti-racism.
  • The innovative use of multiple forms of philanthropic capital, particularly beyond financial capital.
  • Use of data and research in determining strategies and tactics.
  • Cooperation with community partners, particularly in other sectors, or direct engagement with community members.
  • Impact/outcomes that are evidence-based.

You may nominate any SECF member organization, including your own, for the Promise Award. The recipient will be selected by a group of SECF staff and Board members and recognized at the 2021 Annual Meeting.

Nominations are due Friday, October 15. Click here to submit your nominee!

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Update on Annual Meeting COVID Protocols

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


This information was updated on August 26, 2021. Further updates will be posted here as needed.

Throughout our planning for SECF's 52nd Annual Meeting, we have been keeping a close eye on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Delta variant has driven a significant spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, particularly in the South.

We are still planning to host our in-person meeting in Asheville but are making some changes to our meeting policies to protect the health and safety of our attendees and reflect the current state of the pandemic and the latest public health guidance.

First, we are changing our cancellation policy to allow attendees to cancel and receive a full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee, by October 1 -- a month later than normal. The state of the pandemic is changing constantly and rapidly. Pushing back our cancelation deadline gives attendees the ability to make an informed decision with a better idea of what the state of the pandemic will be in November.

Second, we will now require all Annual Meeting registrants to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test from the past 48 hours before attending any Annual Meeting functions. Speakers and staff will also be subject to this requirement. We are currently exploring several options for verifying this information on-site. Anyone who cannot present this information will be directed to testing options.

We want to encourage you to receive a COVID vaccination if you have not already. Vaccines are proven to be safe and incredibly effective at preventing severe cases. They remain the best tool we have for bringing this pandemic to an end.

We are continuing to assess all aspects of the Annual Meeting to ensure it is as safe as possible while providing an enjoyable, informative and inspiring experience. We will continue to provide updates as the meeting draws closer. In the meantime, we appreciate your continued support, understanding and flexibility.

The SECF staff is also available to help answer any questions you may have. You can call us at (404) 524-0911 or email Dena Chadwick, SECF's chief operating officer, at

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Summer 2021 Issue of Inspiration Magazine Now Available!

Tags: Inspiration 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations


SECF members now have access to the latest issue of Inspiration, SECF’s quarterly magazine dedicated to sharing stories of philanthropy’s impact in communities across the region. Here’s what you can look forward to in the latest issue:

  • A look at a partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Southern Poverty Law Center to help boost voter turnout and ballot access in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
  • In Arkansas, leaders at three different foundations have built a new collaborative organization that is not only connecting Black philanthropic leaders with one another, but also helping direct support to Black-serving and Black-led nonprofits.
  • Foundations are working to promote active and engaged communities by supporting local media, which has struggled to survive amid consolidation in the industry and competition from the internet.
  • A Q&A interview with Jessie Ball duPont Fund President Mari Kuraishi, who reflects on her experiences since stepping into her role two years ago.

Each issue of Inspiration also includes a message from SECF President & CEO Janine Lee, a review of new staff and trustees in the region, and an introduction to our latest members.

A copy of Inspiration is mailed to each of our member offices. You can also access a PDF of the issue by logging in to!

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Philanthropy Southeast
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visiting Philanthropy Southeast:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

Mission: Philanthropy Southeast strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.