News & Press: Institute News

March Letter from the Chair

Wednesday, March 14, 2018  

Dear Giving Institute Members, 

It was a pleasure seeing so many of you in Dallas for what I found to be a productive, engaged and truly informative set of meetings, with great sessions on the Donor Advised Fund research and major donors’ own perspectives (thank you Keith Curtis and Dave Smith for putting these together). It was particularly nice to welcome Lauren Steiner, founder and CEO of Grants Plus, to the Giving Institute family.

It's an understatement to say much business was conducted at the meetings, so I wanted to make sure that those of you who could not attend received an update on a number of fronts:

  • A change on the Giving Institute Board – Jennifer Richard has followed her heart to an organization called HALOS, which works to help children stay out of the foster care system, joining the nonprofit as their Development Director. I know you join me in wishing Jennifer the very best (we hope she makes a guest appearance at Summer Symposium, so we can hear an update.) We look forward to welcoming other members of the Winkler Group, as well.

  • New At Large Member - Steve Birnbaum of SofTrek has graciously agreed to step into the At Large Member role on the Giving Institute Board, effective immediately, which Jennifer Richard previously held. Steve will bring a great perspective to our conversations.

  • Bylaws and Minutes Votes – Recently voting directors were sent a communication from our HQ office asking for Giving Institute members to vote on two bylaws changes, both of which were explained in the March meeting packet (one establishing that the Executive Committee serves as the Finance Committee and another clarifying language around member firms with different structures). We did not have a quorum at the board meeting, which is why we need to vote electronically. If you haven’t already, please cast your votes for these items of business.
  • Working Committee for the National Commission on Philanthropy – Ted Grossnickle presented an update at the board meeting on progress, including the very positive meeting held in Dallas last month of 23 members of the initial group (6 of which are from The Giving Institute). Another meeting is scheduled for April 30th. Ted stressed that the initiative is gaining wings, which will require some legal documents around fiscal agency to be put into place. In case you missed it, please refer to the briefing document in the March meeting packet. If you have any questions or want to get involved in the Resource Advisory Group led by Jon Biedermann of DonorPerfect and Derrick Feldmann of Achieve, please ask.
  • Join us in Charleston, SC, July 12-14 – Finally, we had a bit of fun learning about the Giving Institute Summer Symposium, thanks to Ryan Woroniecki of DonorSearch and his flair for marketing. Check out this video Ryan and his team put together, and make sure you plan to invite other members of your firm plus a Golden Ticket attendee. Also, note when you register that we are hosting our “special event” on Thursday night instead of Saturday this year for a great price of $50 per member. June Bradham, who has graciously agreed to step into the Symposium Co-Chair role working alongside Brenda Asare, has put together a lovely Southern evening for us that will not disappoint.  Guest tickets are available. Finally, hard work is happening on the program (thank you Angela Hodson and Bill McMorran), with sessions planned on Crafting a Civic Agenda, Racial Justice in the Wake of Mother Emmanuel, Future Proofing Your Business for Tomorrow, Cracking the Code of Big Data, The Tides Are Changing - Keeping Up with Philanthropists, and more. 

So, please do plan to attend the Giving Institute Summer Symposium in Charleston, and the board meetings. This is an exciting time to be a member, and I know this summer’s event promises to deliver on all fronts.


Rachel Hutchisson
2017-2019 Board Chair
VP, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy, Blackbaud, Inc.

July 12-14, 2018
Mills House Hotel
Charleston, South Carolina

225 W. Wacker Drive | Chicago, IL | 60606