Affiliates in Action

btjealousI’m late with this posting; so much is going on here! Whew! Just wanted to share some of the happenings from our professional affiliate groups.


This past Thursday, we were fortunate enough to land an audience with Benjamin Jealous, national NAACP President, who joined us to speak with Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy members about “the Civil Rights Agenda in the Obama Era.” Jealous, a board member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives who left San Francisco’s Rosenberg Foundation to run the NAACP, certainly understands the intersection of the philanthropic community and the civil rights movement,and has a unique platform to call funding organizations into further action around civil and human rights issues. Jealous gave the assembled group a brief overview of the NAACP’s achievements and priorities during his eight months on the job. When asked what laypeople can do, he pointed out four actions people can take: 1) sign up for NAACP web actions, 2) donate, 3) spread the word about the NAACP’s work, and 4) have patience – there’s much to do!


Two weeks ago, the Foundation hosted a Northern California Grantmakers panel discussion on “The Truth about Implementing New Technologies in Family Foundations.” This was an information exchange on how family or small-staffed foundations use technology to manage and improve their grantmaking, communicate internally and externally with key constituents, and engage their boards.

I was joined on the panel by two other guests: Elaine Gold, Executive Director of the David B. Gold Foundation, discussed how they developed and now utilize an online application to help drastically reduce the reams of paper that the old hard copy process required. Dana Marcus, Executive Director of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, demonstrated how their board uses online tools to communicate with one another remotely while keeping fastidious track of their documents and conversations. Most fascinating to me is their Virtual Site Visit video gallery – they’ve been able to use low-cost tools and freeware to help grantee organizations to develop videos and a web 2.0 presence, and the site is chock full o’ useful DIY information!

And finally, I shared the story of the Kapor Foundation’s conversion to a web-based grant application, and the creation of our blog as a means to increase our transparency and communication with interested readers. Of course, with our founder being who he is, tech-based solutions are an everyday part of our problem-solving. While all of the panelists were quick to say that tech just for tech’s sake isn’t helpful, tech usage as part of a larger plan for efficiency and good operational practices sure is! Good stuff!

Both of these events and involvements underscore the importance of networking and sharing as part of movement-building. We’re glad to be in the mix!

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