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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Public Policy Update - May 2022

Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Each month, Philanthropy Southeast provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast's vice president of member engagement, at


Bill to Create Nonprofit Office in the White House Introduced 

On April 26, Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act, which would create a new nonprofit-focused office in the White House. The legislation aims to improve coordination between the federal government and the nonprofit sector, and the nonprofit office would make policy recommendations, coordinate the release of data on the sector gathered by federal agencies, and seek to make it easier for nonprofits to access federal grants, among other activities.

The legislation has significant support from many in the charitable sector, including Philanthropy Southeast, which joined with over 500 other organizations to sign onto a letter endorsing the bill.  

When Rep. McCollum introduced similar legislation in 2010, concerns were raised by some in the sector that a new White House office could turn into a regulatory body and politicize nonprofits depending on which party holds the White House. Similar concerns are being raised with the current bill, with some arguing this type of office would imperil the independence of the nonprofit sector.

If no action is taken on the bill this year, it is worth noting that Rep. Upton is retiring at the end of this Congress, so proponents of the bill will likely need to find a new GOP lead sponsor.

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Spring 2022 Issue of Inspiration Magazine Now Available

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Philanthropy Southeast members now have access to the latest issue of Inspiration, our quarterly magazine featuring stories of collaboration and innovation in Southern philanthropy, along with articles on emerging trends and best practices. This issue also features a new design reflecting the changes we’ve made following the adoption of our new name!

Articles in this issue include:

  • A look at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation’s big bet on equity, including significant commitments for supporting racial equity and nonprofits led by people of color.
  • A piece from the Dogwood Health Trust on its work to bring more affordable housing to western North Carolina and how these efforts tie into its health-based mission.
  • The story of Philanthropy Southeast’s new Advocacy Agenda, which provides a way for the organization and its members to engage in conversations on issues affecting Southern communities, including economic mobility and strengthening democracy.

A print copy of Inspiration is on its way to each Philanthropy Southeast member office. In addition, all members can view a PDF version of this issue, and past issues, on our website now.

If you have an idea for an article in a future issue of Inspiration, contact David Miller, our vice president of strategic communications, at

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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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April 2022 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Stephen Sherman


Philanthropy Southeast’s online Research Library is regularly updated with the latest reports relevant to Southern philanthropy. Members can browse over 500 research reports, websites, case studies, and other resources we have cultivated to help funders stay abreast of trends in the field and learn about emerging best practices in philanthropy. 

Below are some of the key findings and highlights of the newest additions to the Research Library. If you would like to suggest a resource or have other feedback, contact Stephen Sherman, Philanthropy Southeast’s Director of Research and Data, at or (404) 524-0911.


11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2022
Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University (2022)
This white paper from the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University projects 11 key trends for the social sector for 2022. Each trend is highlighted in an essay written by a faculty member or expert in the field. Key trends for 2022 include the proliferation of cryptocurrency; reopening of Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals; growth in animal-focused philanthropy; increasing involvement of philanthropy in culture wars; innovations in talent investment; further attention to the decline in household giving; donors of color at the leading edge of new forms of giving; expanding definitions of philanthropy and philanthropists; a new era of engagement with indigenous communities; the rise of data philanthropy; and growing skepticism of social media in the sector.


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Share Your Grants Data with Candid to Provide a Complete Picture of Southern Philanthropy

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Stephen Sherman


As a partner on the Get on the Map campaign, Philanthropy Southeast works with Candid to promote data sharing in the philanthropic sector. Candid recently launched its annual data collection campaign, and we invite our members to join this effort by sharing grants data through the eReporting program.

By sharing your grants data with Candid, your organization will help inform resources like the Southern Trends Report and interactive tools like Foundation Maps. Candid data is also helping us track the philanthropic response to COVID-19 and funding to advance racial equity. These resources are used daily by your peers to assess gaps in funding, seek out potential partners, and determine where and how to target their investments.

Your participation is also critical to ensuring that researchers, sector leaders, policymakers, and others have the most complete and accurate picture of Southern philanthropy’s contributions. Delays in IRS processing of Forms 990-PF have made eReporting an even more vital source of current data on foundation grantmaking. Sharing your grants data directly with Candid also offers the opportunity to add enhanced descriptors that ensure grants are presented accurately in Candid’s many resources. We need your help to provide the full picture of philanthropy in our region.

If your organization is already an eReporting partner, thank you! You should have received instructions from Candid for reporting FY21 and FY22 data. Please remember to share your data by June 30, 2022.

If your organization is new to eReporting, it’s easy to share your grants data. You can follow the instructions on this page, or simply email your grants data to

As an added benefit, organizations that participate in eReporting receive an interactive map that visualizes their foundation’s grantmaking (see a sample here). Grants data is also incorporated into our regional giving map, available exclusively to Philanthropy Southeast members.

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Public Policy Update - April 2022

Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


p style="text-align:start">Each month, Philanthropy Southeast provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast's vice president of member engagement, at



Biden Budget Proposes Changes to Rules Governing Private Foundation Use of DAFs

Late last month, the White House released its budget proposal, which lays out President Biden’s spending priorities for fiscal 2023. The budget proposal was also accompanied by the “Greenbook” from the U.S. Treasury Department, which details proposals related to taxes and other federal revenue.

One proposed change may be of interest to private foundations: a provision that would disallow private foundations from counting distributions to donor-advised funds (DAFs) toward their 5 percent minimum payout requirement unless funds are distributed from the DAF by the end of the following year.

The proposal arrives five years after the Treasury Department put out an official notice of its intent to regulate in this space, so this proposal sheds light on how the administration may be approaching that notice.

Similar to last year, this proposal does not include a cap on itemized deductions, and therefore the charitable deduction. However, there was also no inclusion of a non-itemizer charitable deduction, also known as a universal charitable deduction, that was enacted on a temporary basis in 2020 and expired at the end of 2021, as requested by several charitable organizations ahead of the budget release.

The White House budget proposal acts as a “wish list” for the administration and provides a basis for congressional negotiations, so it is possible that some or none of these proposals wind up being enacted. As the budgeting process continues, we will keep you updated on any provisions relevant to philanthropy’s work.


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A Call to Courage: Understanding Dreams, Democracy & Equity in the American South

Author: Robert Dortch


For more than 400 years, America has been designed and driven by dreams and dreamers. If we rewind America’s story, one of the dreams was born in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, on March 23, 1775, at the historic St. Johns Church, when Patrick Henry said, “give me liberty or give me death.” That dream would transform America from being a British colony to being an independent nation. Yet Patrick Henry’s declaration was incomplete for many.

One hundred and eighty years after Patrick Henry demanded liberty, on August 28, 1963, a 34-year-old Baptist minister from Atlanta named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital and reminded America that she had written a bad check by deviating from her promise of liberty and justice for all. He proposed a dream that advocated for freedom to ring throughout the American South and invited America to be an America for all Americans. This dream touched the pulse of the 250,000+ gathered and the millions who watched from afar.

Personally, it gave hope to my maternal grandfather, Henry Towns, who was a 58-year-old factory worker in 1963 and raising his family in a still-segregated Richmond. Through long walks, visits to places where historic events occurred and rides through parts of the American South, my grandfather showed me, during my childhood, that our history is a rich and complex tapestry of painfully tragic injustices as well as significant moments of resilience, resolve and determination. He would remind me that while we can’t change the past, we each have a unique responsibility to learn valuable lessons and contribute to building and writing new chapters that offer hope and opportunity for a better future for all.

We find ourselves at another significant time in the life of our nation because these aspirations are still a work in progress. Therefore, as Philanthropy Southeast commits to writing a new chapter, what lessons can we learn from historic declarations that will serve as a guide to actualizing our full potential?

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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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Staff Highlight: Nora Blumenthal

Category: Member Highlight, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Human behavior and social dynamics play an unmistakable role in the execution of philanthropy and explaining many of the issues it seeks to address – a fact that appealed to Nora Blumenthal when she decided to accept an internship at Philanthropy Southeast.

“One of my main motivators is problem solving to improve peoples' well-being,” said Nora, a Georgia State University senior studying psychology. “I've spent my college years studying psychology and have a strong grasp on the conceptual side of these things. I was seeking an opportunity that would show me the concrete, basic, and day-to-day operations of what it takes to organize groups of like-minded individuals and prepare actions.”

This spring, Nora has supported the Philanthropy Southeast team in its work to connect philanthropic leaders throughout the region. She attended February’s offering of Philanthropy Essentials and is now helping prepare materials for next month’s Foundations on the Hill.

“I've already learned a lot about how Congressional District offices work just in a week or two of FOTH prep,” Nora said. “I'll probably also start helping with setting up meetings between representatives and attendees. I'm looking forward to learning about some data mapping tools as well!”

Soon after her internship concludes, Nora will wrap up her bachelor’s degree – after a summer break, she plans to look at a diverse set of opportunities ranging from the FBI to clinical psychology programs.

“What I enjoy most about psychology is that there is an almost infinite depth of understanding available,” she said. “I take what I've learned and use it to keep learning, just with sharper senses.”

Nora, a native of the Bay Area, says she’s appreciated the abundance of nature in the Atlanta area – camping and hiking are among her hobbies – as well as a diversity of opinions and viewpoints.

“I think it's extremely important to question your beliefs on a regular basis, so being around people who fall all along the political or ideological spectrum is a positive aspect of the South,” she said.

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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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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.