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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April 2024 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

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 2024
Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University (2024)
This annual publication from the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University identifies 11 key trends for the social sector for 2024. Each trend is discussed in detail in an essay written by a faculty member or expert in the field. Key trends for 2024 include the expansion of access to higher education to incarcerated individuals; an uptick in philanthropy led by Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities; the need for greater support for Black women leaders; a call for greater investment in the U.S. South; anticipated challenges to federal race and ethnicity standards; the affordable housing crisis; growing adoption of fiscal sponsorship in the sector; the emergence of artificial intelligence; donor anonymity under the microscope; the promise of Generation Z; and influencer philanthropy on the rise. A related webinar is also available to view online.


Social Connectedness and Generosity: A Look at How Associational Life and Social Connections Influence Volunteering and Giving (and Vice Versa)
Do Good Institute, University of Maryland School of Public Policy (2024)
This second report in a two-part series examines the connections between voluntarism, social connectedness, and charitable giving. The study found that people who volunteered in the previous year were 14.5 percent more likely to give in the current year, and people who gave in the previous year were 9.3 percent more likely to volunteer in the current year. The study also describes how other forms of civic engagement influence volunteering and giving. People who belong to, or participate in, one or more community groups or organizations in the previous year were significantly more likely to volunteer and were more likely to donate money. Another significant finding was that volunteering and giving appear to increase the likelihood that adults vote in national elections, showing the connection between charitable behavior and civic engagement. Volunteering (for any cause, not just a political one) increases voter turnout probability by 12 percentage points, while giving increases voter turnout probability by 10.1 percentage points.


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Participate Now in the 2024 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The 2024 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. The annual GSB report is an invaluable tool for grantmakers 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 uses data from the GSB to provide 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 2024.


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 live 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. 

Thank you in advance for your participation!

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Public Policy Update - March 2024

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


Donor Intent Legislation Moves Toward Passage in Georgia, Kentucky

Legislatures in two Southeastern states, Georgia and Kentucky, are moving toward passage of legislation aimed at making it easier for donors to enforce the terms of gifts given to universities and other entities. Both bills are similar to legislation passed in Kansas last year.

The bills would establish that charitable organizations that accept contributions pursuant to an endowment agreement must abide by the terms of the endowment agreement, and that a donor may bring a civil action against a charitable organization for violating such an agreement.

Donors would have four years to sue once they learn of a violation of an agreement. Donors would not be allowed to seek a return of their gift or financial damages, but a court could order the gift’s recipient to abide by the terms of the agreement.

The Kentucky legislation (SB 70) passed the state Senate on February 5 and is now being considered by the state House. The Georgia bill (SB 433) passed the state Senate on February 27 and passed out of a state House committee this week.

Similar legislation may be introduced in other states, either this year or in future sessions. We will continue to monitor these efforts – if you have questions or concerns about donor intent legislation in your state, please let us know. We are also considering future programming to educate members on this topic.


Biden Budget, Like Last Year’s, Proposes Changes for DAFs, Family Foundations

This week, the White House released its fiscal 2025 budget proposal – and just like last year’s proposal, it includes a few items related to philanthropy.

The administration has proposed disallowing 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. Interestingly, last year this same proposal was projected to raise $83 million over 10 years, but the Treasury Department now estimates it will raise $270 million over the same 10-year window.

The second provision is aimed at excluding payments to family members at family foundations from counting toward the mandatory 5 percent payout. Under current law, reasonable and necessary administrative expenses to further the charitable purpose of a foundation count toward the distribution requirement.

This year’s budget proposal does not address the charitable deduction, which Philanthropy Southeast and others in the sector have asked to be made available to all tax filers, including those who do not itemize their return.

The budget proposal is not binding, but it does create a baseline for budget and spending legislation in Congress while also reflecting the priorities of the administration and Biden’s re-election campaign.


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In Remembrance of Janine Lee

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Kristen Keely-Dinger



I am writing with profoundly sad news. Janine Lee, Philanthropy Southeast’s president and CEO since 2011, passed away Wednesday evening following a brief illness. She was surrounded by family.

On behalf of our entire Board and staff, I want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to Janine’s family. We are doing all we can to support them during this time of great loss.

This is also a time of mourning for the Philanthropy Southeast staff, our Board, our members and countless others in our field who were blessed to know and work with Janine. The warmth of her personality, combined with an unwavering commitment to the Southeast and a steadfast belief in the power of philanthropy, made her one of our field’s most impressive and inspiring leaders. Words cannot convey how much we will miss her.

Philanthropy Southeast’s many accomplishments under Janine’s leadership include the adoption of a groundbreaking Equity Framework, new values and guiding principles, a dedication to courageous leadership and the embrace of an inclusive vision of philanthropy that has allowed us to welcome new organizations and leaders that share a commitment to our region, its communities, and its people. Janine’s vision and strategic thinking have put Philanthropy Southeast in a position of great strength, moving toward an even greater future.

While this is a sad time for us all, the next few weeks will be especially challenging for the Philanthropy Southeast staff, for whom Janine was not only a leader, but a valued mentor and friend. They will need space and time to grieve – please give them your patience and grace.

In the days ahead, we will share ways you can pay your respects and help us commemorate Janine’s life, work and legacy. As an organization, we will honor her memory and impact throughout the rest of this year and beyond – we will have more to share about those plans soon.

Please keep Janine’s family and the Philanthropy Southeast team in your thoughts and prayers. Your support for them is invaluable and deeply appreciated.

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Sharing News About Janine Lee

Category: Announcements, 
Author: Kristen Keely-Dinger


We wanted to let you know about some recent events that have deeply affected our Philanthropy Southeast family. Last week, our president and CEO, Janine Lee, was hospitalized and is now on medical leave. Our thoughts and prayers are with Janine and her family as they navigate this challenging time.

Janine's family has asked for privacy as they focus on caring for her needs. However, they wanted us to share that she is in stable condition and resting comfortably. We are in close contact with them -- if they have more information they wish for us to share, we will pass it along.

Janine is many things to each of us -- a leader, a colleague, a mentor, a friend, and so much more. I know that many of you are thinking of her and praying for her. I also know that her family sincerely appreciates your support. As an organization, we are doing all we can to help them during this time.

Since learning of Janine's condition, our staff leadership and Board have been in constant communication with one another -- both to support each other and to ensure that the work of Philanthropy Southeast moves forward. Our Board, already slated to meet this week, agreed today on a plan of action until we have more information on Janine's prognosis.

Dena Chadwick, our chief operating officer, will serve as acting president and CEO during this time. Janine and Dena have worked closely for years, and the Board has full confidence in her ability to lead Philanthropy Southeast. She will also be supported by an incredible team of leaders on our staff.

This is a difficult time for many of us and we want to recognize that in how we conduct ourselves and the expectations we place on our team. While we have currently made no changes to our program calendar, we will assess that as this situation evolves.

We hope to be in touch with you soon with more information. In the meantime, all I ask is that you keep Janine and her family close to your hearts.

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Public Policy Update - January 2024

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


Register Today for Foundations on the Hill!

Foundations on the Hill -- your best opportunity to be an advocate for philanthropy and discuss your foundation's priorities with policymakers – is less than a month away, but there’s still time to join the Philanthropy Southeast delegation!

This year, you can choose between two experiences for Foundations on the Hill: One for those eager to learn more about policy, advocacy and the issues philanthropy is concerned about, and another is ideal for FOTH veterans who are ready to dive right into meetings with policymakers.

Learn more about Foundations on the Hill – and sign up to attend – at


National Study on DAFs to be Released During FOTH

Foundations on the Hill attendees will be among the first to hear the results of the DAF Research Collaborative’s (DAFRC) National Study on DAFs.

Informed by data provided by community foundations and other DAF sponsors throughout the United States, including more than two dozen community foundations from the Southeast, this study is the most comprehensive research project on DAFs to date. This new work builds upon the field’s existing knowledge of DAFs and explores new areas of concern to DAF sponsors, donors, and grant recipients.

Philanthropy Southeast partnered with the DAFRC last year to encourage broad participation in the study. In addition to the national report, Philanthropy Southeast has commissioned a separate analysis of DAF providers in the Southeast region. This regional study is expected to be available in late March or early April.


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January 2024 Research Update: Highlights from Recent Reports in the Field

Category: Research & Data, 
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.


Philanthropic Support for the Nursing Profession: Priorities and Potential for Transforming Nursing and Achieving Health Care Quality and Equity
American Nurses Foundation (2023)
This report documents, for the first time, overall philanthropic investments in the U.S. nursing profession as well as the specific funding priorities of a subset of leading private, public, and community foundations. It also shares the perspectives of a set of nursing funders and other experts on the state of philanthropic support for the nursing profession and concludes with recommendations for funders seeking to unlock the transformative power of nurses. Overall philanthropic support for nursing totaled an estimated $573.9 million in 2022 and a combined $3.2 billion from 2015 through 2022. While these figures represent substantial support for all aspects of nursing, they amount to merely one cent of every dollar in private contributions given for health care during this period.


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New Data Added to Southern Trends Report

Category: Research & Data, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


The Southern Trends Report, Philanthropy Southeast’s dashboard on Southeast foundations, has recently been updated with 2021 data on foundations and grantmaking. Developed in partnership with Candid, the site provides a year-by-year look at trends in foundation growth and giving in our region The latest figures show a number of key findings:

  • Assets of Southeast foundations rose to more than $190 billion in 2021, more than doubling over a ten-year period
  • Giving by Southeast foundations topped $11 billion in 2020 and 2021
  • Education, human services and health are the top areas of focus for grants awarded by Southeast foundations.
  • A clear majority of grant dollars awarded by Southeast foundations (61 percent) went to recipients within the region.

This year's update also includes revised and expanded data for 2019 and 2020 – reporting for these years had been slowed by the pandemic. The latest updates now present a much fuller picture of philanthropy in the region during that critical time.


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View the Winter 2023 Issue of Inspiration

Tags: Inspiration 
Category: Announcements, 
Author: Philanthropy Southeast


Over the holiday break, the Winter 2023 issue of Philanthropy Southeast’s Inspiration magazine was released in print and online. In case you missed it, visit our website now to check out these articles:

  • A profile of the winners of the 2023 Truist Promise Award – the Women’s Foundation of the South and the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation – and how their approaches to their work illustrate how philanthropy works on multiple levels to support communities and improve lives.
  • A recap of last year’s Annual Meeting, where a compelling lineup and a powerful sense of place combined to provide attendees with an unforgettable experience.
  • A look at a new and inclusive approach to evaluation, being practiced by The Greater Clark Foundation in Kentucky, and what it offers to funders throughout the region.

This issue also includes interviews with the latest 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 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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Meet the New Members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


At this year’s Annual Meeting, Philanthropy Southeast members elected four leaders to a first term on our Board of Trustees. They shared their thoughts with us on joining the Board and what they’d like to focus on in the year ahead.


Kristin Walker Collins
Incoming CEO, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky

What made you say “yes” when asked to serve on the Philanthropy Southeast Board?

I have been a part of Philanthropy Southeast since 2016, and I have admired its increased focus and dedication to strengthening Southern philanthropy and building a more equitable and prosperous South. I believe philanthropy has the power to make a real difference in the lives of people in the South, and I am passionate about supporting organizations that are working to create a more just and inclusive society. I continue to be impressed by the organization’s commitment to providing quality programming and peer-to-peer learning to its members, which is essential for the growth and development of philanthropy in the South. Finally, I was excited to have the opportunity to work with Philanthropy Southeast’s talented and dedicated staff and Board members. I believe that together, we can make a real difference in the South.

Do you have any goals for your first year of Board service?

My primary goals for the first year of Board service include familiarizing myself with Philanthropy Southeast’s mission, vision, and values; actively participate in meetings, discussions, and events to gain a comprehensive understanding of our work and priorities; establish strong relationships with Board members and staff; contribute to strategic plan implementation and decision-making; and expand and engage with Philanthropy Southeast’s membership.

Your foundation has been deeply involved in disaster recovery work in Eastern Kentucky and is heavily focused on rural communities. How does this inform the perspective you’ll bring to the Board?

I currently serve as COO and am the incoming CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, a nationally accredited community foundation that doesn’t necessarily act like a traditional community foundation. We live and work in Appalachian Kentucky, one of the most persistently poor regions in the United States but have proved that by working in and with community, and truly investing in people and place, that we can make a real difference.

Over the last three years, we have found ourselves doing more and more disaster recovery and resiliency work in our region and from this experience I bring a unique perspective of philanthropy in the South. Our work is rooted in community and the belief that when you work with and listen to community that change happens. We understand that money is power, so we give the money and decision-making power to our communities. They choose where to make investments in areas they care about and we provide them with the tools and resources to make those decisions. I also understand the issues plaguing rural communities because I live in a rural community – less than 5,000 people – and a lot of the work we do is making sure that rural is represented in rooms where decisions are being made. Understanding that lack of food, transportation, broadband, phone service, and basic infrastructure are issues that people deal with every day and how philanthropy can use its power to alleviate those issues.


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Connecting with Philanthropy Southeast:
The Philanthropy Southeast staff works remotely – the best way to reach us is by email or by calling (404) 524-0911.

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

On Fridays, staff work on a flexible schedule. Members can reach our team via email or by calling (404) 524-0911 between 9:00am and 6:00pm (ET). We will respond to all urgent and time-sensitive matters promptly.

Mailing address:
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

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.