Philanthropy on the Move!

June 1, 2016

Oak KnollExciting news: As of June 13, 2016, the Gateway Center for Giving will reside in a newly restored, historic structure located in a lovely 14-acre park in Clayton. You can find us at #2 Oak Knoll Park, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63105; our phone number will remain the same, (314) 621-6220. Sharing building space with the St. Louis Community Foundation will provide us with new ways to participate in the regional philanthropy conversation.

For more than forty-five years, the Gateway Center for Giving has been dedicated to helping donors do more in the St. Louis region. We elevate best practices and enable leaders at philanthropic organizations to connect, learn and act with impact. We remain an independent, non-profit membership association, consisting of more than 80 philanthropic sector members, ranging from small family foundations to large corporate charitable giving programs and sector-supporting organizations.

There are some extraordinary challenges that organized philanthropy can, and should, address. Our organization is uniquely situated to provide a venue for thoughtful collaboration and action to help our region move forward, and we look forward to continuing in service to our community from our new home in Oak Knoll.


Gateway Center for Giving Launches Get on the Map! Initiative

January 28, 2016

01_GOTM_Main_LogoWondering who funds what, when, where and how? Timely information is critical to understanding the funding landscape and ensuring that charitable giving is as effective as it can be.

The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Foundation Center recently formed a strategic alliance  to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking nationwide.  The new Get on the Map initiative will offer stakeholders in the philanthropic sector up-to-date information that helps inform our work, and also allows us to demonstrate that our region’s collective grantmaking serves the public good.

Get on the Map encourages funders to share grants data using Foundation Center’s eReporting standard, which is easy to export in most grants management systems.   When a funding organization participates by submitting their data electronically, they will receive a free interactive map which visualizes their own grants. In addition, the Gateway Center for Giving will provide Members with access to a collective map of giving data. Delivered though the Foundation Center’s Foundation Maps platform, these maps will provide access to timely information about the activities of grantmaking peers, regional funding gaps and potential collaborations.  More robust data also enables philanthropists to share narratives with elected officials, civic leaders and stakeholders who make tax, regulatory and other decisions that affect the way our sector operates.

Good information allows all of us to learn from each other, better tell our stories, and continue to work as a grantmaking community to benefit society as a whole. Get on the Map and join the conversation. Learn more here.

Gateway Center for Giving Celebrates the Strength of Philanthropy in St. Louis

January 25, 2016

Phil On the Map imageSt. Louis, January 22, 2016—The Gateway Center for Giving convened grantmakers and nonprofits at the Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting today to celebrate the generosity of donors in the St. Louis region and to recognize five sector leaders for their grantmaking excellence and impact. Gateway Center members collectively represent $3.7 billion in charitable assets, of which more than $261 million is deployed in the St. Louis region each year.

The Gateway Giving Awards reflect an emphasis on best practices in the field and philanthropic sector leadership. Award winners are nominated by their grantmaking peers, community members and nonprofits. This year’s five award winners are:

Excellence in Innovation in Philanthropy:

The Clark-Fox Family Foundation, for creating Blueprint4SummerSTL, a novel, highly personalized searchable web database that helps families in the St. Louis metropolitan area find best-fit summer programming for youth. In its first year, the site hosted 72,000 searches for more than 3,500 summer opportunities, promoting youth enrichment.

Excellence in Collaboration in Philanthropy: 

Express Scripts and the Express Scripts Foundation, for their leadership in fostering the Nance Elementary Transformation Plan, bringing together eight disparate agencies and elevating the key program areas and expertise that each brings to the table to better serve student needs.

Also, the Regional Business Council, for their leadership in the Reinvest North County Fund, created in partnership with North County Inc. and supported by the St. Louis Community Foundation. Under RBC’s leadership, $900,000 has been raised for businesses and school districts in the target region during a critical time for recovery and growth.

Emerging Leader in Philanthropy:

Serena Muhammad, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the St. Louis Mental Health Board, was nominated by her sector peers for her work as a collaborative, thoughtful and inclusive emerging leader.

Philanthropic Legacy:

The Staenberg Family Foundation has granted more than $60 million in financial support to nearly 500 organizations, in addition to pro bono contributions valued at over $10 million, over the past decade. A supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the Staenberg Family Foundation actively supports organizations and programs relating to arts & culture, children, education and medical research and services, creating a significant legacy of philanthropy that now extends to a second generation of givers.

Business Meeting

Outgoing Gateway Center Board Chair Ann Vazquez of the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis welcomed the following three additions to the Gateway Center for Giving Board of Directors:

David Desai-Ramirez, IFF; Gregory Glore, the Glore Fund; Jenny Hoelzer, Commerce Bank.

New Board Officers: Matt Oldani of the Deaconess Foundation was elected as Board Chairman for 2016; Jama Dodson of the St. Louis Mental Health Board as Vice Chair, Desiree Coleman of Wells Fargo Advisors as Secretary, and Mary Kullman of the Caola Kullman Family Fund as Treasurer.

Outgoing Board Members Amelia Bond of the St. Louis Community Foundation; Kathy Gardner of the United Way of Greater St. Louis; David Krauss of the Commerce Family Office; David Stiffler of Equifax; and Mary Swan, formerly with Ameren, were all recognized for their outstanding service to the organization.

The Gateway Center’s Annual Meeting was hosted by Forest Park Forever and supported by Emerson and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation. Visit the Gateway Center for Giving Facebook page over the coming weeks to see pictures from the event.

About the Gateway Center for Giving

The Gateway Center for Giving helps donors do more. We strengthen philanthropy and promote community impact by providing programming, research and networking opportunities to grantmaking organizations in the St. Louis region. We also enhance regional leadership through information on community needs and philanthropic best practices, supporting collaborative action to help address our region’s most pressing issues. The Gateway Center for Giving was founded in 1970 and our members include corporations, donor-advised funds, foundations, trusts and professional advisors actively involved in philanthropy. To learn more, visit

Collaboration is Not the End Goal

December 18, 2015

matt-kuhlenbeckMatt Kuhlenbeck, Program Director, Responsive Portfolio at the Missouri Foundation for Health, traveled to Texas for the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Collaboration Conference to learn how to be a more productive collaborative partner and provide better support for nonprofit collaboration.

Several colleagues, local funders, and I had the opportunity to attend the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Collaborations Conference last month. The Conference provided many examples of funder collaborations that were successful at achieving their goals and also highlighted those which struggled to fulfill their vision. Through all of these collaborations a few themes emerged:

  • Importance of relationships above all else
  • Culture and leadership drive effective collaborations
  • Organizations need to be positioned for collaboration from board to staff, and
  • Collaboration is not the end goal

This event was particularly important given our region’s spirit of collaboration and networking among funders and community partners, as we regularly work together toward shared goals. It is through this collaborative spirit that I have been fortunate to develop relationships among leaders in the funding community that have helped us begin to move seemingly intractable issues in the region.

Recognizing the importance of relationships, the idea of culture and leadership-driven collaboration resonated for me and prompted me to think about how the funding organization for which I work approaches collaboration.  Collaborations often develop through personal relationships, but they are also driven by the culture of our organizations.  The Missouri Foundation for Health has a “core value” to seek opportunities to collaborate with other funders to aide in fulfilling our mission. To this point, most of our funder collaborations have been based on personal relationships, rather than a purposeful emulation of our core values through organizational norms and consistent staff actions.  This led me to ask, how can we further emulate our values more effectively internally and externally with our partners?   We can do so by holding ourselves accountable to a set of norms and behaviors.

Beginning internally, we can ask ourselves: “What are the behaviors I expect of my peers that I will also hold myself accountable to everyday?” This can be the first step in a conversation about how we live the value of collaboration with our partners. This question then leads us to others:

  • Do we have clear organizational values and goals associated with collaboration and are they clearly connected to staff expectations/behavior?
  • Do we have the time to build relationships and the skills to be effective in a collaboration; how might those that need work be identified and developed?
  • Do we have the flexibility to make adjustments to our grantmaking practices and procedures to foster increased trust?
    • For example, loosening restrictions on grant requirements, longer timeframes for progress, including objectives that focus on the development and maintenance of collaboration and creating shared evaluation measures/processes.
  • Do we have regular, internal communication processes to share status of collaborations in which the foundation is involved?

Effective collaborations are built over time through relationships and trust among partners. These relationships can be reinforced or diminished by our organizational culture, norms, and actions. I believe careful consideration of these factors is a critical component of effectively living our value of collaboration and look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the health of our region.

10 Ways GCG Members Can Engage in 2015 & Beyond

October 28, 2015

The calendar year is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your GCG membership in 2015! Here are 10 ways to engage before the end of the year.

DEI Affinity Group Mtg_2-17-2015 1101) Attend a program

We offer about 35 programs annually for GCG Members. Visit our Programs & Events page to see the list of upcoming programs. Or, check out GCG’s Upcoming Programs in our What Gives? weekly newsletter.

2) Pitch a program

GCG Members are in the unique position to work with our staff to develop and present a program to the GCG Membership. Some of our most successful programs in the past were initiated by a GCG Member. Contact Clare at GCG to pitch your program ideas for 2016.

3) Share your news

GCG is always on the lookout for news about our Members to include in issues of What Gives? Whether it’s a press release about your impactful giving or an article featuring your organization or staff,  your peers are interested. Contact GCG and share your news with us. We’ll make sure the rest of the GCG Membership hears about what you’re doing.

4) Like us on Facebook

We regularly update our Facebook page with photos and information. Stay up to date with all the latest news on what GCG Members and Staff are doing in the St. Louis community.

5) Join an affinity group

GCG has several affinity groups within our membership that gather for programs within their area of interest, including sessions for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Funders; Early Childhood Funders, and Education Funders.  We recently added a discussion group on Impact Investing.

6) Utilize the GCG Collaborations Directory

This year, GCG released an updated regional Collaborations Directory, which is a dynamic resource for GCG Members seeking information and engagement opportunities. Catalogued by subject matter, there are a total of 73 listings that can provide grantmakers with opportunities to partner with others.

7) Attend the Annual Meeting

Every January, we host our Annual Meeting—our organizations’ largest gathering of grantmakers, nonprofit partners and community leaders to celebrate the strength of philanthropy in St. Louis. We work hard on preparing an informative and enjoyable event for all. Our theme this year is “Philanthropy on the Map” and the event will be held at the Trolley Room in Forest Park Visitor’s Center on Friday, January 22, 2016.

8) Write a blog post

Be a guest blogger on the GCG Blog. In 2016, we are revving up our social media presence and want to feature our favorite people—our Members! If you have a perspective that you wish to share, a challenging question that your organization has encountered or particular insights about the field, please consider submitting a post.

9) Submit a research request

On-demand research services are available exclusively for Members to learn who’s doing what in the community and nationally, as well as the latest trends and best practices are in grantmaker areas of interest.

10) Join a GCG Committee

As a membership organization, GCG relies on member volunteers to help our staff consider and develop consistent programming and new initiatives.  Committees include: Programs & Services, Finance, Engagement, Governance, Audit and Executive Committee. Contact the GCG staff if you are interested in joining one of our volunteer committees.

Impact Investing: An Overview

July 7, 2015

This spring, five graduate students at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis worked collaboratively to research and report on the rapidly growing field of impact investing.

Under this framework, charitable assets are used to invest in projects that generate revenue (financial return) as well as providing direct community benefits.

Thank you to Jennifer Dilley, Sarah Fisher, Michelle Mowry, Delilah Papke and Gulcan Yayla for their work.

A blog post based on their research follows.

GWB Students

Impact Investing Overview

Impact investing is an investment strategy where “investments [are] made into companies, organizations and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return” (Global Impact Investing Network, n.d.). This strategy merges the financial and philanthropic sectors and allows investors to “do more” with fewer dollars (Kathuria & Murray, 2013). Impact investments can be made across asset classes and generate below market-rate and risk-adjusted rate returns (Global Impact Investing Network, n.d.). There are five main impact investing vehicles: mission-related investments, program-related investments, social impact bonds, enterprise philanthropy, and hybrid models. Success is based on both social and financial returns, which are often measured using the Impact Reporting and Investing Standards (IRIS) metrics as a standardized form of measurement.

Program-Related Investing

Program-Related Investing (PRI) is an impact investment vehicle in which a foundation finances charitable organizations or commercial ventures for charitable purposes. PRI involves financing methods often associated with banks or other private investors—such as loans, loan guarantees, linked deposits, and equity investments—requires principal return, and earns a below-market, risk-and mission-adjusted return varying from 1-3% (Emerson 2003). To be program-related, the investments must significantly further the foundation’s exempt activities. The Internal Revenue Service defines PRI as any investment by a foundation that meets the following three criteria: (1) Its primary purpose is to further some aspect of the foundation’s charitable mission, (2) The production of income or the appreciation of property is not a significant purpose of the PRI, and (3) It may not be used to support any lobbying or political campaign activities (Internal Revenue Service, 2015). Between 2000 and 2010, the Foundation Center tracked 427 foundations that provided 3,757 PRIs totaling $3.39 billion.

PRI allows foundations to achieve their program-related goals, such as allowing the Rockefeller Foundation to increase asset ownership, accessing financial services and creating jobs for marginalized individuals. It also benefits foundations by helping them generate earned income, gain access to new funding, and develop new financial management history. However, PRI includes many challenges for smaller foundations that lack knowledge of PRI and expertise in PRI management. First, PRIs entail significant transaction costs that disadvantage smaller foundations. In addition, appropriate opportunities for smaller foundations may be difficult to find because of necessary due diligence and having programmatic, financial, and legal skills on staff (Raymond, 2010). Although PRI is a viable investment vehicle with the potential to generate financial and social returns, it is not an appropriate strategy for all investors.

Mission-Related Investing

Mission-related investing advances an organization’s mission and align its fiscal policies with its social objectives (Trillium Asset Management Company, 2007). It reduces disparities between funding and mission by using up to 100% of an organization’s assets to promote its mission and carry out fiduciary duty (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2008). MRI is feasible for foundations, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations and can be made through cash deposits, fixed-income securities, private and public equities, and real estate (Aspen Institute, 2015). A key aspect of MRI is generating a satisfactory financial return. Optimally, MRIs earn a market-rate return (Richter, 2010) large enough to fund grants (Trillium Asset Management Company, 2007). Resources like the US Community Investing Index or the Calvert Mutual Fund can help organizations identify MRI opportunities.

MRIs’ strengths are their ability to align a foundation’s mission and fiscal policy by using the endowment to advance the mission. The return on an MRI can be used to fund grants, increasing the impact an organization can have on a social issue. Furthermore, as MRIs can be made at various rates of social and economic risk, organizations with both large and small asset portfolios can engage in MRI. Challenges include concerns about the risks to fiduciary duty, which requires the leadership to preserve the endowment by investing prudently (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 2008). Some organizations may feel forced to choose between social and financial returns in MRI (Aspen Institute, 2015). Furthermore, as it can be hard to recruit financial advisors who are well versed in MRI, these concerns can be difficult to resolve (Kramer & Cooch, 2007).

Social Impact Bonds

Social impact bonds (SIB) are utilized through performance-based contracting in social sectors, where the government pays for the project financing only if predetermined goals are reached. There are four main with SIB: nonprofits, or service providers, are responsible for offering services to the communities; investors finance the project and expect to be repaid by the government with a rate of return at the end of the project; governments pay back the investors if the predetermined performance criteria are achieved; and finally intermediaries are responsible for the facilitation of the process and also may serve as an independent evaluator of the results. The evaluation process is the basis of SIBs. Defining the evaluation metrics and assigning targets to these metrics directly determines the success of a project.

Although SIBs are acclaimed to be innovative solutions that can potentially address high cost social problems while removing the burden of financing and the risk from government to private investors, real world applications are limited. The first SIB in the world (UK, 2010) was established with the goal of reducing recidivism among male offenders in Peterborough Prison by 7.5%. 17 investors raised £5 million for the 6-year project. Since the results will be evaluated at the end of 2016, it is too early to tell whether the goal of 7.5% reduction will be achieved. However, early official results indicate a possible success. Following the UK, the US started experimenting with SIBs. The pilot projects started in 2011, and last year, in 2014, the largest SIB in the US was financed with a total of $21.3 million in the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Pay for Success Initiative. Goldman Sachs became the main sponsor of the project by investing $9 million. Although the official results of this investment vehicle are yet to be seen, SIBs can be potential tools to finance huge social problems, as long as the players do not sacrifice addressing the root causes of complex problems by favoring a few short-term performance metrics.

Enterprise Philanthropy

Enterprise philanthropy, also known as venture philanthropy, performance philanthropy, or high-engagement grant making (Fahmy, 2004), “applies the principles and tools of venture capital to the social sector” (Day, 2015). This type of investment strategy targets funds towards early stage for-profit and nonprofit organizations well suited to make a significant social impact. Venture philanthropy can be made across asset classes and recoup varying rates of return; however, many investments simply add more accountability to the traditional grant making process and do not achieve any return on the principal. This type of investment is catalytic, viable across sectors and very transparent to investors. However, it can also be risky, and limited data has made its overarching success unclear.

There are five key elements to successful enterprise philanthropy: 1) a long-term plan (three to six years); 2) a managing partner relationship; 3) accountability for results; 4) provision of cash and expertise; and 5) a well-crafted exit strategy (Center for Venture Philanthropy, 2014). The defining features of venture philanthropy are the managing partner relationship, the accountability for results and the provision of financial and nonfinancial resources. Investors and fund managers remain intimately involved with the investee for the duration of the investment. Because the investment is contingent upon reaching concrete goals, they also typically receive quarterly updates on the organization’s progress. Finally, investors and fund managers provide nonfinancial resources, often in the form of consulting resources, which help the investee implement successful management practices.

Hybrid Models

Created through classic non-profit and for-profit structures, hybrid organizations function as integrated models that create deep social impact and revenue, aligning social benefit and profitability. They achieve social goals through their business practices and extend into various sectors, such as career development, the food industry, healthcare, and technology. Hybrid models offer a bold, sustainable infusion of humanitarian principles into modern capitalism (Battilana et al. 2012) and should be led by individuals who can strategize, analyze, and operate a business while remaining devoted to a social cause. There are two forms of hybrid organizations: a Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) in the United States and Community Interest Companies in the United Kingdom.

The advantages of hybrid models are that they retain the integrity of the explicitly business and nonprofit worlds, can protect the non-profit status of an organization, and they offer flexibility and adaptability to change (Furr et al. 2014). Hybrid models encourage investors to engage in impact investing and collaborate with other investors. The versatility of the model attracts different types of investors on both the for-profit and the non-profit side. Hybrid models can grow out of either a for-profit or a non-profit, thereby making it an accessible and versatile impact investment tool.  However, special care must be taken to ensure for-profit funds go to non-profit efforts, and additional overhead may be required for both branches of the organization to thrive. Navigating the different forms of funding for hybrid models – and the difficulty of rigidly and completely defining hybrid models – can be intimidating for grant makers unfamiliar with the process (Muller, 2015). Finally, limited research on hybrid models may discourage traditional funders who seek low-risk investments from entering this investment space (Dichter et al, 2014).

Impact investing represents an exciting form of innovation within the philanthropic sphere, and the many different vehicles of impact investing make it accessible to various types of funders and philanthropists. Although its newness can seem intimidating to prospective investors, the potential for addressing social issues through collaboration and effective use of donor dollars renders impact investing an innovation worth exploring.

Gateway Center for Giving Corporate Roundtable: June 3, 2015

June 5, 2015

Engaging Veterans:  This week the Gateway Center for Giving Corporate Roundtable featured FullSizeRender (2)“Engaging Veterans: Philanthropy and Employment Practices,” an online program offered by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC).

The BCCCC webinar focused on the ways that companies are using the valuable skills and experience of military veterans, both through their philanthropy initiatives and employment efforts.

Participants heard from Robin Boggs, US Corporate Citizenship lead at Accenture and Maggie Pollard, Manager at Accenture, who discussed Operation: Employment, their overall effort to support veterans through external efforts (e.g. build capacity of NPO partners, engage Accenture’s employees in veterans’ initiatives in their local communities) and internal efforts (e.g. recruit, retain, and engage military and veterans as employees). The Accenture representatives provided highlights on their own targeted tools that help them to employ veterans, from military career coaching to online digital and technology skills training. Accenture partners with local, national and flagship organizations, which they say is the key to their success in building out their veterans’ employment practice.  By 2020, Accenture has committed to hire 5000 veterans.

Next, Paul Weigel, Directory of Community Affairs at Outerwall (which is the parent company for Coinstar, Redbox and ecoATM; with 66,500 kiosks worldwide), discussed the company’s efforts in this space.  Outerwall uses internal business resource groups, such as “Armed Forces & Allies,” to support organizational initiatives that engage veterans and to drive the corporate behavior which attracts new employees. The corporation also utilizes tools like a micro-site for veterans to conduct job searches that match civilian job codes with military job codes.  Additionally, Outerwall participates in job fairs targeting transitioning veterans and partners with veterans groups that assist in skill set development and foster community involvement, giving leaders within the company the opportunity to coach and mentor veterans..

Both companies recommend looking for opportunities that align with your own business operations, and encourage organizations to think broadly about intersections that exist in the space in order to have holistic impact in the internal and external communities. Many good national partners are out there; employees can tell you what is important to them, so encourage that feedback.

Local funders: A number of Gateway Center for Giving members are currently funding a range of initiatives focused on engaging veterans, including Enterprise Holdings, Boeing, Express Scripts, Maritz, Ameren, and the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation.

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