Florida Governor and Cabinet Honor Florida Community Foundations

Yesterday I was honored to accept a resolution passed by Florida’s Governor and Cabinet honoring Florida’s community foundations for “their service to communities all across the state.” The resolution was introduced by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam at the April 22 Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, and approved by Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner Putnam and the other members of the Florida Cabinet, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The resolution also congratulated the community foundation field on its centennial anniversary. The first community foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Continue reading

Helping to Guide America’s Largest Philanthropy Network

Last week I was honored and humbled to be elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Arlington, Va. The Forum is the largest network serving the philanthropic sector in America. Our network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers, including Florida Philanthropic Network, collectively represent more than 5,000 private and community foundations, corporate givers and other philanthropic organizations (you can read more about the appointment here). Continue reading

Honoring Florida Philanthropy Leadership: Joe Clark & Jane Soltis of the Eckerd Family Foundation

This year Florida Philanthropic Network is losing a valued member. The Eckerd Family Foundation is sunsetting, per the intentions of the foundation’s founders, the late Ruth and Jack Eckerd, and therefore will no longer be a part of our membership. On February 1 at FPN’s 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, we honored two of the Eckerd Family Foundation’s leaders, Joe Clark, the foundation’s president, and Jane Soltis, the foundation’s vice president.

At its 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, FPN honored Joe Clark (second from left) and Jane Soltis (second from right) of the Eckerd Family Foundation for 15 years of philanthropic leadership. Honoring them were Jake Short from the Eckerd family's next generation (l.) and David Biemesderfer, FPN President & CEO (r.).

At its 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, FPN honored Joe Clark (second from left) and Jane Soltis (second from right) of the Eckerd Family Foundation for 15 years of philanthropic leadership. Honoring them were Jake Short from the Eckerd family’s next generation (l.) and David Biemesderfer, FPN President & CEO (r.).

Based in Tampa, the Eckerd Family Foundation was founded 15 years ago by Ruth and Jack Eckerd and endowed with $100 million. Jack Eckerd founded Eckerd Drugs in Florida. Joe Clark, Ruth and Jack Eckerd’s son-in-law, has been with the foundation since the beginning, and Jane Soltis has been there almost as long. The foundation upheld Ruth and Jack Eckerd’s spirit of philanthropy by investing in youth and families, encouraging youth leadership, supporting the journey into young adulthood and the pursuit of educational and vocational opportunities. Continue reading

Honoring Florida Philanthropy Leadership: Sherry Magill & David Odahowski

The theme of Florida Philanthropic Network’s 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy was “What Is Philanthropy’s Leadership Opportunity?” So it was a particularly appropriate occasion for FPN to honor two people who have taken full advantage of their leadership opportunities in Florida’s philanthropic sector: Sherry Magill, President of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in Jacksonville, and David Odahowski, President & CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park. Sherry and David are two of the co-founders of Florida Philanthropic Network. They have served on FPN’s Board of Directors since FPN’s first Board meeting in 2001, and they left the Board on January 30, 2013, after more than 12 years of service. Joining me in honoring them at the Summit was Steve Marcus, President & CEO of the Health Foundation of South Florida, who co-founded FPN along with David and Sherry.

David Odahowski and Sherry Magill react to a standing ovation while being honored at FPN's 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy

David Odahowski and Sherry Magill react to a standing ovation while being honored at FPN’s 2013 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy.

Both David and Sherry have mentioned to me that many years ago they would stand alone in the corner during grantmaker conferences and wonder why Florida couldn’t have an organization that could hold its own conferences for Florida funders; they didn’t want to just see their Florida colleagues at national conferences every now and then. Well, thanks to their hard work, vision and perseverance, Florida now has such an organization. Their vision for FPN was to provide a collective voice for Florida philanthropy and to ensure that philanthropy has a seat at the table when important policy decisions are being made. Continue reading