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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Submit Your Ideas for the 2024 Annual Meeting!

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Planning is now underway for next year’s Annual Meeting, taking place November 13-15 in Nashville, Tennessee. As we begin to build out our agenda, we want to hear from Philanthropy Southeast members about which topics we should explore in our breakout sessions.

Our full agenda will include sessions focused on these four areas:

  • Best & Next Practice – These topics are designed to make organizations more effective and impactful in their giving (e.g., evaluation, collaboration, diligence, reporting).
  • Giving Strategies & Priorities – These topics typically focus on community issues, initiatives or programming that reflect giving priorities (e.g., education, health care).
  • Governance & Leadership – These topics focus on internal operations and strategies for effective leadership and management (e.g., compliance, investments, governance, communications, staff and trustee development, recruitment and retention).
  • Communities & Ecosystems – These topics focus on broad issues facing Southern communities, philanthropy, the charitable sector or society generally (e.g., demographics, public policy, next generation issues, diversity/equity, nonprofit capacity). 

In addition to topics, this survey will also allow you to submit ideas for keynote and plenary speakers for this year’s meeting – we’re excited to hear your ideas!

If a topic you submit is selected, we may ask you to serve on our Annual Meeting Session Design Team to develop your idea further, recruit speakers and work with the Philanthropy Southeast staff on session logistics.

The survey will allow you to submit up to three topics. If you have more than three topics, please send your submission to Chris Yueh, Philanthropy Southeast’s director of events and meetings, at




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54th Annual Meeting Recap: Moving Forward in Montgomery

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Hundreds of philanthropic leaders from the Southeast and beyond met last week in Montgomery, Alabama, for three days dedicated to supporting the region's communities and supporting one another -- moving forward together as part of a connected, collaborative movement to build an equitable and prosperous South.

From the start of the Annual Meeting, attendees were inspired to think big. Dr. Mae Jemison, a former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color in space, explored the limitless thinking and ambition that will be necessary to acheive our highest aspirations. Later, a panel of Philanthropy Southeast members shared stories of both the bold moves they've made, but also the challenges and obstacles they've encountered along the way. Nikole Hannah-Jones captivated the audience while discussing her work on The 1619 Project and how philanthropy can truly work to unravel centuries of racial inequity. Dr. Matthew Desmond used powerful data to tell an even more powerful story of how multiple forces conspire in America to keep people from leaving poverty. On the meeting's closing day, Anthony Ray Hinton shared the story of his survival for decades on Alabama's death row and how, despite great difficulty, he eventually won his freedom.

In between these moments on the main stage, attendees had dozens of opportunities to learn more about specific topics making an impact on philanthropy work today -- the wide-ranging agenda included sessions on succession planning, trustee leadership, affordable housing, public policy, storytelling and many more. Members also had an unprecedented opportunity to draw learning and inspiration from nearby sites in Montgomery like The Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Rosa Parks Museum.

These experiences combined to leave the Annual Meeting audience with new information, new connections and new motivation to take risks, make leaps and transform lives.


Session Videos & Materials

Materials from this year's Annual Meeting are available on our Program Archive (login required). Videos will be available soon! (Please note, not all sessions were recorded.)


Photo Gallery



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Public Policy Update - November 2023

Tags: R 
Category: Public Policy, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Philanthropy Southeast regularly provides members with 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


IRS, Treasury Department Release Proposed Regulations on DAF Distributions

This week, the IRS and Treasury Department released proposed regulations tied to taxable distributions from donor-advised funds. The release kicks off a 60-day period where members of the public can comment on the proposal.

The proposed regulations are years in the making: They were largely written based on comments received in 2006 and 2007 around definitions of DAFs, distributions, investments and disqualified persons. They also referenced some comments from a 2017 Notice, though the issues outlined in the 2017 notice, including pledges and bifurcation, the public support test, and private foundation use of DAFs, are not addressed in this rule.

While we are still analyzing the full notice, here are a few things worth noting:

  • Disqualified persons: There are certain taxable distributions from DAFs that would be subject to excise taxes like compensation to a “disqualified person”. Some sponsoring organizations have raised concerns that the current proposed rule would consider compensation to an investment advisor as a taxable distribution if the advisor provides both DAF and personal investment advice. 
  • Distribution definition: The proposed rule outlines what transactions are considered distributions versus investments. There are questions around why the definition of the two is seemingly different from the definitions that apply to private foundations. A former Treasury official who helped draft the proposal indicated it could be different because DAFs aren’t subject to the same payout requirements as private foundations. However, a potential concern arises if DAFs are faced with a payout requirement in the future. 
  • Broadening “What is a DAF?”: The proposed rules would include giving arrangements, such as field of interest funds and giving circles, as DAFs depending on the donor-advisor relationship to the sponsoring organization. Though it doesn’t appear this would cause immediate issues for those using these giving arrangements, should future restrictions or requirements be put in place on DAFs, these arrangements would be subject to those requirements. 

We understand these definitions need to be in place prior to addressing related regulations, and regulators are expected to focus on getting these definitions right before turning to other proposed rules impacting DAFs, like those from the 2017 notice on pledges, bifurcation, public support, and private foundation use of DAFs.

You can submit comments on this proposal now at the Federal Register’s website. Comments will be accepted through January 16, 2024.


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Fall 2023 Issue of Inspiration Now Available!

Category: Inspiration, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The latest issue of Inspiration, Philanthropy Southeast’s quarterly magazine, is now available in print and online. Stories covered in the Fall 2023 issue include:

  • A preview of next month’s Annual Meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, highlighting our keynote and plenary speakers and opportunities to connect with our host city’s rich Civil Rights history.
  • The return of the Family Foundations Forum, which brought together dozens of family members, trustees and staff from across the region this summer in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • A profile of the Jack and Anne Glenn Foundation focused on its approach to multi-generational family philanthropy – an approach that has helped strengthen bonds among family members.

This issue also includes an opening message from Janine Lee and a roundup of the latest hires and appointments from members across the region.

This year, we’ve expanded our Inspiration mailing list to better share stories of philanthropy’s work in the region. Each member organization receives at least one print copy of Inspiration, with additional copies sent to other senior leaders, program staff and Hull Fellows alumni.

This issue and previous issues can also be viewed on

If you have a story you’d like to see highlighted in Inspiration, contact David Miller, vice president of strategic communications, at

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A "Big Tent" That Benefits All Members

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Janine Lee


When we adopted Philanthropy Southeast as our name, it came with the promise of transforming our membership into a “big tent” – a network that brought together not only traditional foundations, but also many other kinds of philanthropic organizations, so that we might learn from one another and work together toward our shared goals.

Two years later, that tent is starting to fill up. For proof, just look at the list of new members approved at our most recent Board meeting. At 11 organizations, it’s one of the largest groups of members we’ve ever welcomed within one quarter. But what’s even more impressive is the sheer diversity of that group, which includes family, community and health legacy foundations – the longtime core of our community – along with two supporting organizations, and two grantmaking public charities.

That’s only the beginning, however. We’re also welcoming our second giving circle and two philanthropy-serving organizations, focused on Mississippi and Greenville, South Carolina. Finally, there is the United Way of Greater Atlanta, which is joining Philanthropy Southeast as our first-ever federated fund member.

When I became president and CEO more than a decade ago, a slate of new members like this would have been considered impossible. Today, organizations like these are essential to achieving our vision of a just and equitable South.

What changed over the past 11 years? First, with the support of our members, in 2015 we adopted a strategic plan that expanded our mission – in addition to our longstanding support of our members through programming, services and public policy, we also emerged as a source of thought leadership within our region and our field.

That mandate to provide leadership led directly to 2017’s Passing Gear report, which laid bare the systemic inequities and disparities that were standing in the way of making real progress in the South. It also contributed to the realization that our efforts to spark transformative change were being held back by a narrow definition of philanthropy that made it more difficult to bring together all people and organizations invested in our region’s success.

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2023 Salary Data for Southeast Grantmakers Now Available

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Each year, Philanthropy Southeast partners with the Council on Foundations (COF) to produce salary benchmarking reports for foundation staff and CEOs in the Southeast. These reports include the average, median, minimum and maximum salaries for a range of 38 staff positions at all levels in foundations based in the 11 Southeast states and U.S. Caribbean territories. Salary tables are organized by both grantmaker type and asset size to provide quick access to benchmarking data for foundations of all shapes and sizes.

Salary information for 2023 is drawn from data on more than 10,000 full-time paid staff at nearly 1,000 grantmaking organizations. The South region accounted for approximately 26 percent of all respondents. We wish to thank all Philanthropy Southeast member organizations that responded to the 2023 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey earlier this year, providing the valuable benchmarking data that informs these reports.

The 2023 salary tables for Southeast foundations are available exclusively to Philanthropy Southeast members under the For Members section of our website – or you can click this link to access them directly (login required). 

What did this year’s survey reveal? Here are some of the key findings:

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Public Policy Update - September 2023

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Philanthropy Southeast regularly provides members with 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


Action Alert: October 4 Day of Action to Support the Universal Charitable Deduction

Next Wednesday, October 4, philanthropic leaders throughout the country will reach out to key lawmakers urging them to support legislation to restore the universal charitable deduction.

All Philanthropy Southeast members can add their voice to this effort – next Wednesday, contact your members of Congress and ask them to support the Charitable Act (S. 566/H.R. 3435), restore the universal charitable deduction and incentivize giving to help reverse the recent decline in charitable contributions.

In support of the Charitable Act, Philanthropy Southeast will be sending a letter to lawmakers in our region serving on key tax-writing committees. However, it’s vital that lawmakers hear from their constituents so that the universal charitable deduction remains a priority.

Here’s how you can join us in supporting the Charitable Act:

  • Call your House representative and senators – look up their contact information here.
  • Post a message to your legislators on social media – make sure you use the #CharitableAct hashtag. House members on X, formerly known as Twitter, are listed here.  Senators’ accounts are listed here.
  • Send an email: Our partners at the United Philanthropy Forum have created a tool that makes it easy to send a message to your representatives and senators. Access it here.

The Charitable Act would restore the non-itemizer charitable deduction and increase the amount taxpayers could deduct to approximately $4,600 for individuals ($9,200 for joint filers). The legislation would also make gifts to donor-advised funds eligible for the universal charitable deduction.

This action comes at a critical time – last year, giving dropped 10.5 percent after inflation. At the same time, recent polling shows 87 percent of voters support restoring the universal charitable deduction, and more than half of voters would give more if they could take advantage of the deduction.

Please join us next week in calling for Congress to restore a charitable deduction available to all American taxpayers – ask your lawmakers to pass the Charitable Act now!

If you have questions about the Charitable Act and how you can support it, contact Jaci Bertrand at


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Meet the 2023-24 Hull Fellows Class!

Tags: Hull Fellows 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Philanthropy Southeast is proud to announce the members of the incoming 2023-24 Hull Fellows Class! These 32 leaders have been selected as the next participants of the Southeast's premier philanthropic leadership program. Following a kickoff at this year's Annual Meeting, they will engage in a year-long journey that will help them determine their own approach to leadership while also preparing to address the issues facing philanthropy and our region in the years and decades ahead.

Once their Hull experience is complete, the members of this new class will join a group of more than 300 Hull Alumni, many of whom are serving today as CEOs and senior executives at foundations and other charitable sector organizations throughout the region.


Chandra Allen
Program Officer
The West End Home Foundation
Nashville, TN

Kathy Allen
Community Engagement Director
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
Hazard, KY


Susanne Bell
Senior Program Officer
Danville Regional Foundation
Danville, VA

Jessika Bond
Associate-Sustainable Organizations
Dogwood Health Trust
Asheville, NC


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Community Foundation Survey on Endowment Building Cohort

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Unrestricted Endowment building continues to be a topic of interest for community foundations. Ralph Serpe, President and CEO, Adams County Community Foundation was the featured speaker for June's meeting of Philanthropy Southeast's Community Foundations Committee. Ralph shared "The Secrets to Building Unrestricted Endowments" and members came away with a wealth of information and an eagerness to learn more.

We are pleased to announce that Ralph Serpe has agreed to facilitate a 10-month Community Foundation Endowment Building Cohort for Philanthropy Southeast members. The Cohort will be an interactive peer group for a maximum of 14 and minimum of seven participants per group.

Please complete the survey linked below to learn more about the cohort offering and to share your interest.




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An Offer, a Request, an Opportunity and an Invitation from The Kendeda Fund

Author: Dena Kimball


As Kendeda prepares for our December 2023 spend-out after nearly 30-years and over $1 billion in grantmaking, we wanted to share a few invitations to our Southeast foundation partners, from whom we have learned so much.

First, an offer and a request. As Kendeda enters its final months of operations we hope to communicate a few final insights with peers and allies before we say goodbye. This will take the form of a handful of emails (8 or fewer between now and year end) directing you to resources, stories, insights, and lessons learned through the work we all care about and have often done in partnership. Mindful that not everyone may care to hear from us, even in this time-limited way, we are inviting you to opt-in. Once our sunset is complete, you won't receive any more emails from us. We promise! To sign up, just click here and share your email. It’s that easy!

Second, a learning opportunity. For those who may be interested, our partners at the National Center for Family Philanthropy are hosting a webinar on September 21 titled: “Is Spending Down Right for Your Philanthropy? How to Make the Decision and What to Consider in the Process.” As a foundation moving through this process, we are excited to take part in this timely conversation, and we encourage others who are interested to sign up soon!  

Third, an invitation.  For those attending Philanthropy Southeast’s Annual Meeting in Montgomery, Kendeda will be holding a farewell reception on the evening of Thursday, November 9.  Annual Meeting attendees can RSVP for this event as part of their event registration.

We appreciate you and your work!

Dena Kimball is executive director of The Kendeda Fund.

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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.