“This was an excellent opportunity to explore new possibilities for grantmaking as a result of the relationships and collaborations achieved by these entities working in concert,” said Dr. Ted J. Alexander, association chairman and chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation.
Headlining the event were Mike Howland, newly-elected president and CEO of the Southeastern Council of Foundations; Dr. Byron Harrell, president of Baptist Community Ministries in New Orleans; and Dr. Pamela Smith, president of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education.
“The enthusiasm and momentum being generated by the Mississippi Association of grantmakers bodes well for the future of philanthropy in the state,” Howland said. “I look forward to a proactive, productive relationship between the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) and MAG and to seeing Mississippi foundations continue to assume leadership roles in SECF.”
Howland spoke about the benefits of membership in the foundation, which is the largest regional association in America, and of its future direction.
“The secret to grantmaking success is for funders to build strong relationships with like-minded members,” Harrell said. “Being part of a regional group like the Southeastern Council of Foundations can help funders exchange ideas about grant programs that have worked elsewhere.”
His presentation focused on the strengths of a relationship among organizations.
“The workload can be shared and various grantmaking approaches can be honed to a fine edge by working together,” Harrell said. “At the state level, foundations are much stronger when they work together in partnership to advocate for improved public policies and to tackle some of the most entrenched problems our communities face. Foundations are definitely ‘better together’.”
Harrell recently released a new publication, “Supercharged Giving: The Professionals’ Guide to Strategic Philanthropy.”
Keynote speaker was Smith, who detailed the economic education/financial literacy programs the Mississippi Council on Economic Education has established.
“The Mississippi Council on Economic Education has been supported with contributions and grants received from Mississippi foundations and nonprofits and, as a result, our state’s teachers are in the process of delivering economically and financially literate students,” she said. “We were certainly pleased to have the opportunity to share with the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers the scope and magnitude of our work to assist students in learning the tools that will help them succeed in our free enterprise system.”
Co-sponsors of the meeting were Alexander and the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation in Picayune, Mike Clayborne and CREATE Foundation in Tupelo, Rebecca Combs and The Phil Hardin Foundation in Meridian, Doyce Deas and L.D. Hancock Foundation in Tupelo, Becky Farley and The Riley Foundation in Meridian, Luther Ott and Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, Tom Pittman and Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi in Hernando, Danny Spreitler and The Gilmore Foundation in Amory, Anne Travis and The Bower Foundation in Ridgeland and Rich Westfall and Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Gulfport.
“From the perspective of a foundation board member, I am pleased to see the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers involved in bringing some of our southern state foundations together,” said Dr. Becky Askew, a member of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation board. “This can only increase our potential for collaboration and new partnerships.”
Alexander and Harrell both serve on the board of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. A third SECF board member, Heather Larkin Eason, president and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation Inc. in Little Rock, also attended the meeting.