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 Nominees for the Philanthropy Southeast Board

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The success of Philanthropy Southeast would not be possible without the talent, wisdom and dedication of our Board of Trustees. Our Trustees represent not only the voice of our members, but also the best of philanthropy in our region. Their work has allowed us to move our organization forward in line with our Equity Framework and Courageous Leadership strategy while continuing to provide first-class programs, events and benefits.

Members like you are in the best position to know who can help Philanthropy Southeast continue its progress and growth by serving as one of our Trustees. Today, we are asking you to submit your recommendations for Board membership.

Philanthropy Southeast members may recommend any other Philanthropy Southeast member, or themselves, as potential candidates. Trustees must be able to attend up to four in-person meetings per year at the expense of their organization (including one at the Annual Meeting), serve on at least two committees (most committee meetings are virtual), and connect foundations to Philanthropy Southeast. More information is available in “The Role of the Philanthropy Southeast Trustee” – please email for a copy.

Above all, we are looking for individuals committed to Philanthropy Southeast. However, our Bylaws require us to have a representative from each of the 11 states as well as each of our largest constituencies. This year, we are specifically seeking candidates from Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. In addition, the Governance Committee has identified the following needs:

  • Diversity (i.e., Race, Ethnicity, Gender, LGBTQ, Next Generation/Now Generation)
  • Foundation Trustees
  • Financial & Legal Expertise
  • Experience with organizational governance and change management

Submitted candidates will be considered by the Governance Committee, which will recommend nominees for approval by the full Board. Approved nominees will be voted upon by the membership at this year’s Annual Meeting. Recommendations are due Friday, June 30.

Thank you for your active involvement and support of Philanthropy Southeast!

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Conference on Investing - Call for Sessions Now Open!

Category: Annual Meeting, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


On November 8, Philanthropy Southeast will bring philanthropic leaders and financial experts together in Montgomery, Alabama, for our 2023 Conference on Investing! This half-day event, a preconference to our 54th Annual Meeting, will explore market trends, the latest investment strategies and different approaches foundations can use to maximize not only returns, but also impact.

We are excited to offer this event as an in-person and online opportunity that will double as a kickoff for our 2023 Annual Meeting. To ensure we get off to a great start, we're inviting our members to help us build a strong lineup of Conference on Investing sessions!

We invite you to share your ideas for keynote speakers and sessions that will provide a forum to explore the complexities of investment strategy, spotlight innovative funding initiatives and discuss the tools and tactics that can help grantmakers achieve long-term effectiveness.

If you are interested in designing and delivering a session, complete our Call for Sessions by Tuesday, June 6.

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Public Policy Update - May 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


Tell Your Legislators to Support the Universal Charitable Deduction!

Earlier this month, House lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation, known as the Charitable Act, that would restore and expand the charitable deduction for non-itemizing taxpayers, also known as the universal charitable deduction, that expired at the end of 2021.

The legislation (HR 3435) is identical to a bill (S 566) introduced earlier this year in the Senate, where it also enjoys both Democratic and Republican support. If passed, 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.

Philanthropy Southeast joined hundreds of other philanthropy-supporting organizations, foundations, nonprofits and others in supporting the Charitable Act in a letter sent to lawmakers on May 17. The following Philanthropy Southeast members were among the many signatories:

  • Arkansas Community Foundation
  • Blue Grass Community Foundation
  • Central Carolina Community Foundation
  • Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina
  • Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area
  • Community Foundation of Louisville
  • Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi
  • Community Foundation of Sarasota County
  • Community Foundation of West Georgia 
  • Community Foundation of West Kentucky
  • The Gheens Foundation, Inc.
  • Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • J. Bulow Campbell Foundation
  • James Graham Brown Foundation
  • John Rex Endowment
  • Martha Christine White Foundation
  • North Georgia Community Foundation
  • South Arts
  • Winston-Salem Foundation
  • Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis

With the Charitable Act now enjoying bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, lawmakers need to hear from you about the urgent need for this bill! Learn how to contact your House representative here and your state’s senators here

Philanthropy Southeast is monitoring this legislation closely and will keep you up to date on its progress and opportunities to show your support.


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Your First Look at the 2023 Annual Meeting!

Author: Philanthropy Southeast



Set a reminder now:
Registration for Philanthropy Southeast's 54th
Annual Meeting opens on Wednesday, June 7!

Taking place November 8-10 in Montgomery, Alabama, this year's Annual Meeting is focused on our shared commitment to the communities of our region and to improving people's lives.

While Southern philanthropy has become increasingly adept at recognizing the systemic issues that prevent people from fully participating and prospering, many challenges persist. But philanthropy simply cannot afford to be discouraged -- too much is at stake to slow down or take a step back. We must keep moving forward, and we must do it together.

By moving forward together, Southern philanthropy can act as a unifying force for good and a source of leadership in our communities and our region. We are diverse, but we are not divided -- and this year's Annual Meeting will be a demonstration of our unity and resolve during this pivotal time.

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Share Your Grants Data with Candid to Help Tell the Story of Southern Philanthropy

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


As a partner on the Get on the Map campaign, Philanthropy Southeast works with Candid to promote data sharing in the philanthropic sector. We invite our members to join this effort by sharing your grants data with Candid. By doing so, your organization will help inform resources like the Southern Trends Report and interactive tools like Foundation Maps. 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, 2023.

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.

For additional information, visit the Candid website or contact Stephen Sherman, director of research and data, at

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Coming Soon: A New Mobile App Experience

Tags: Mobile App 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


This week, we discontinued the Philanthropy Southeast mobile app – we made this decision following a thorough discussion and review of our members’ needs and feedback.

The mobile app was launched in October 2020. At that time, in-person events had already been canceled for several months and it was unclear when it would be safe to come together again. The app’s features were designed to help members remain connected to one another, and to Philanthropy Southeast, during a time of social distancing.

As in-person programming resumed in 2021, we saw that app usage declined significantly, only rising during events like the Annual Meeting. While the mobile app doubled as our Annual Meeting app for two years, this was not its primary purpose, and it did not contain many useful features that are widely available on apps dedicated to live events.

While this version of the mobile app is going away, we are currently working on a new mobile app that will debut later this year and be used for this year’s Annual Meeting! We are also looking at ways to bring the mobile experience to other Philanthropy Southeast programming.

We look forward to sharing more information with you soon regarding our next mobile app – in the meantime, if you have questions or feedback, please contact David Miller, vice president of strategic communications, at

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April 2023 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


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.



Generosity Trends and Impacts: Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the USA
University of Pennsylvania (2022)
Funded by the Generosity Commission of Giving USA, this study initially aimed to explore declining participation in charitable giving and volunteering but shifted to examine changes in behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers explored changes in both formal and informal giving, as well as volunteering, from before the pandemic (March 2019 through March 2020) to during the pandemic (March 2020 and after). The study found that while the average donation amount increased significantly, the overall number of donors decreased. About a quarter of those who volunteered for an organization before the pandemic stopped volunteering during the pandemic. With the exception of giving above-average tips, areas of informal volunteering and/or donation behavior remained stable during the pandemic.


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Meet the Newest Members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


In December, Philanthropy Southeast members voted to elect three new leaders to our Board of Trustees. We asked each of them a few questions about joining the Board and what they’d like to accomplish.


Jennifer Barksdale
Chief Finance and Operations Officer
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

What made you say “yes” when asked to serve on the Philanthropy Southeast board?
I benefit from the Philanthropy Southeast programs and networking and am honored to be asked to be on the Board. After my first Board meeting, I realized what an incredible opportunity this is. Spending time with the Philanthropy Southeast staff and fellow Board members and hearing the breadth of work Philanthropy Southeast has planned was energizing and humbling. What a privilege it is to support Philanthropy Southeast’s work while building relationships with foundation leaders across the Southeast. 

You’re not only a new trustee – you’re also Secretary/Treasurer. What in your work has prepared you for this role?
I am a nerdy CPA at heart who finds comfort in a good spreadsheet. For most of my 35-year career, I have applied my love of numbers to support the important program work of nonprofit organizations. How lucky I am to be able to use financial skills to support organizations working to change our world for the better. At Philanthropy Southeast, Dena and her colleagues do the hard work and make the role of secretary/treasurer easy.

Do you have any goals for your first year of Board service?
During my first year, I want to learn as much as I can about Philanthropy Southeast and how I can be a supportive board member. Philanthropy Southeast and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation are on similar racial equity paths, seeking to apply a racial equity lens to all our work. My goal is to dig in and deepen my understanding of racial equity and how it informs everything we do.

What else should our members know about you?
My favorite things are spending time with my family in the North Carolina mountains and listening to live music at small venues in my hometown of Winston-Salem. I have two dogs, one of which is an ornery rescue chihuahua, who you will certainly get to know if we ever have a Zoom meeting together.


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Spring 2023 Issue of Inspiration Magazine Available Now!

Tags: Inspiration 
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 Spring 2023 issue include:

  • The work of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to shift its investment strategy grantmaking approach to achieve its vision for equity – work that included divesting from tobacco and offering an honest assessment of its founder’s legacy.
  • How foundations throughout the region have recognized internet access as a necessity and are working to close the digital divide in both urban and rural areas.
  • A look at foundations’ increasing comfort with advocacy and how public policy has emerged as a key tool in achieving lasting and transformative change.

This issue also includes interviews with new members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board, 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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2023 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey is now open!

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The 2023 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey is open to participants now through May. 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 rely on this annual report to inform budgeting, talent recruitment, retention strategies, and personnel policies and practices.

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 (typically early October).

What are the benefits for participating organizations?

All survey participants (both COF members and non-members) will receive:

  • Free access to the GSB Report
  • Early access to the report’s data tables
  • Access to create custom benchmark reports

Reports and data are expected to be released in fall 2023.

How can your foundation participate?

Visit the COF website to learn more and for detailed instructions on how to complete the survey.

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 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey lives in Benchmark Central. If you have never participated in a GSB Survey, email your first and last name, title, and email  address to in order to obtain a Benchmark Central account. 

The deadline to complete this year’s GSB survey will be May 16, 2023. 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.