Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Two Albany area chambers of commerce consider partnership

Two Albany area chambers of commerce consider partnership

Oct 22, 2014, 3:07pm EDT UPDATED: Oct 22, 2014, 3:26pm EDT
Donna Abbott-Vlahos
Mark Eagan is president and CEO of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber.
Reporter-Albany Business Review
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The Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber and the Chamber of Schenectady County are exploring a joint partnership.
Mark Eagan, president and CEO of Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber says the partnership would function more as two affiliate organizations under one parent chamber, rather than a merger.
"Our discussions are a natural progression in our ongoing partnership," Eagan said. "We have done as much as we can do as separate legal entities."
Board members of both chambers voted to form a joint task force Wednesday.
The task force includes six members from each of the chambers' boards. The group is working with The New York Council of Nonprofits Inc. to determine the sustainability of an integrated organization.
The chambers would maintain offices in Albany and Schenectady counties. 
"We want to integrate without losing focus on local, county-based issues," Eagan said.
Both chambers have partnered with several business groups and events in the past including Leadership Tech Valley, the Tech Valley Nonprofit Business Council and the Tech Valley Young Professionals Network.
The Schenectady Chamber has 1,000 members and the Albany-Colonie Chamber has 2,200 members. Two hundred and twenty are members of both.
The task force will meet over the coming months to evaluate the sustainability of an integrated chamber. It will share its findings to members of both chambers and put the partnership to a vote in the spring.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October From the Field: Arts & Culture Best Practices

Arts Services Initiative
of Western New York
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                                                  October 2014

Arts & Culture
What's Going On...

NonProfit Giving

During the Downturn, America's Poor Helped Each Other More. The Rich Pitched in Less.
Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

Since 2009, a rising economic tide has mainly lifted yachts. During the recovery, the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. Both in terms of incomes and wealth, the rich got richer. Meanwhile, the poor and middle class either saw their earnings and wealth stagnate or fall off.

And yet amidst all that, something odd happened. Even during the downturn and recovery, the poorest Americans upped their charitable giving. Meanwhile, the highest-income people gave less and less, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported this week.


Robin Hanson
Cross Collaboration for Tapping Into New Pools of Talent
Robin Hanson, ARTSblog

According to Taproot Foundation, 92% of nonprofits across the nation say they do not have enough pro bono support. Of the 500+ companies who pledge to support pro bono volunteering through A Billion + Change, 14% are Fortune 500 companies.

If you take the need for pro bono volunteers and the pool of corporations who support pro bono volunteering, there are not enough volunteers. Furthermore, if you reduce the pool of potential volunteers to businesses who support the arts, the pool becomes a pond.

So how do you attract a different kind of pro bono talent to fill the pond? By forming cross-collaborations with other partners focused on skills-based volunteers and introducing those volunteers to the arts world.

In-Kind Donations

Fractured Atlas
6 Tips for Noncash Donations
Amanda Keating, Fractured Atlas Blog

Noncash and in-kind donations are a great way for artists and arts organizations to curb costs and secure the materials needed to make their work happen. The process of obtaining noncash gifts can be a bit tricky to navigate, and while some aspects are quite similar to soliciting monetary donations, there are some challenges and quirks to keep in mind. 


Artists Blogs
12 Great Blog Topics for Artists
Arts Business Institute

Do you blog about being an artist? It's a great way to produce new content for your art website, and draw in visitors. What to write about?

Legal Issues

Legal Compliance
Legal Compliance By Design
Brook Asiatico and Katari Buck, BoardSource

We've all seen the headlines. From mismanagement to insufficient oversight to criminal activity, nonprofit corporations are not immune from the very same compliance issues that affect for-profits. In some ways, nonprofits may be even more vulnerable to conditions that lead to noncompliance. Rightfully, the mission takes precedence, with governance sometimes taking a backseat. Therefore, the nonprofit board must ensure governance works in concert with, rather than as an impediment to, the organization's mission-driven activities.

Public Art

Train Station Art
Train Stations Become Platform for Public Art
Jen Swan, Nonprofit Quarterly

What better way to introduce a community, residents and travelers alike, to public art than through the public transportation system? That is exactly what Brooklyn, New York, is doing through the Arts and Design program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Twelve of the fourteen stations in Brooklyn on the D train line are slated to have public art of some kind, spanning a range of topics and media that includes mosaic proletarianscast bronze bees, and a 20-foot-long translucent hot dog. This particular public art program is facilitated through a rehabilitation budget for subway and rail stations, which included $88 million in renovations to seven of the stations in 2012.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

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Press Release

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Dan Brady
Communications Manager
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
(888) 391-3235

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and
Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

Nationwide Partnership Will Expand Access to Data on Philanthropy, Improve Foundation Effectiveness

New York, NY — October 6, 2014. Washington, DC-based Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and New York-based Foundation Center have announced a new partnership to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking through the strategic collection and sharing of data on philanthropy. The Forum is a national network of 34 geographically organized philanthropic associations that together have a membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations, making it the largest network in American philanthropy. Foundation Center is an independent nonprofit that is known as the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.
"The philanthropic sector talks increasingly about such things as field alignment, strategic collaboration, and leveraging core competencies," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "This partnership is a golden opportunity to put those principles into action."
The Forum's mission is to leverage the collective knowledge of its association members so that each can be the highest quality provider of philanthropic support services in their regions, while a Foundation Center priority is to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic. The partnership will tap the unique strengths of each organization in order to achieve shared goals.
"The Forum Network has both deep regional roots and a broad national reach, and our regional associations' members are key to strengthening connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector. However, at present, only a handful of our associations has access to up-to-date grantmaking data on their membership, and none have sophisticated online tools that allow the data to be queried and explored in real time," said Michael Litz, president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. "Opening these new resources to the Forum Network will be a game-changer for those striving to be more strategic and impactful in their philanthropy."
The partnership will entail establishing platforms and systems for collecting data contributed by Forum members and translating it into knowledge services that will benefit not only the Forum membership, but the broader philanthropic sector. Specific plans include the following:
  • Philanthropy Data: To support a vibrant and effective philanthropic sector, the partnership will launch a "donor data campaign" to encourage members of regional associations to centralize and standardize giving data at Foundation Center. This current data will be accessible to all members through an interactive mapping platform helping to inform funding decisions and track trends in each region.
  • Philanthropy Research: Templates for research reports will be created so that information about regional giving can be more easily and efficiently published and shared, providing regionally focused funders with critical information about funding patterns in their communities.
  • Philanthropy Tools: Data visualization, benchmarking, and knowledge management tools will provide regional associations with continuous access to comprehensive data on the work of their member foundations and empower users to draw actionable conclusions from the information.
In recent years, Foundation Center and individual Forum member associations have partnered on a wide variety of projects, including more than 40 research reports and fact sheets, and Forum members have participated in Foundation Center's Funding Information Network. This partnership is a natural evolution of those preceding collaborations, all of which have in common the goal of spreading knowledge to strengthen philanthropy and the good it can achieve. The national scope of the partnership, however, will introduce efficiencies and broaden its impact.
"Recent advances in information technology have put us in a position to collect and share knowledge far more efficiently than ever before," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at Foundation Center. "When this system for data gathering, sharing, and visualization is applied across an entire network of grantmakers, the opportunities for donors to collaborate and achieve their visions of a better world will multiply exponentially."
Share on Twitter: Strategic alliance btwn @givingforum and @fdncenter will improve quality and effectiveness of grantmaking.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call(212) 620-4230.
About the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers
Established in 1998, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national philanthropic leader and network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers with a combined membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum facilitates effective philanthropy by fueling connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector, delivering efficiencies and cost savings for our 34 member associations, and providing tools and resources to advance policy change. For more information, please visit or call (888) 391-3235.

Foundation Center • 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 • (212) 620-4230