Council on Foundations – Global issues take centre stage at Council conferences

‘Family Philanthropy Takes Center Stage’ was the title of the Council on Foundations’ 2004 Family Foundation Conference, held on 8–10 February in New York City. The title reflects both the increasing number of grant requests reaching family foundations and the increasing government and media interest in the accountability of family philanthropy.

Growing family foundation interest in international grantmaking was reflected in sessions highlighting the use of US intermediary organizations to make grants overseas, how navigating the cultural divide can be challenging for family grantmakers, women funding women internationally through family foundations, and microcredit programmes as a way of reducing poverty around the world. Former US President Bill Clinton spoke about the critical role American philanthropists can play by addressing vital issues on a global scale, referencing his own foundation’s support for economic empowerment of the poor, racial and ethnic reconciliation, and the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.

The Council on Foundations’ 55th Annual Conference, 26-28 April in Toronto, Canada, promises to be one of the Council’s strongest international gatherings yet. Building on the theme of ‘Leadership in Challenging Times’, it will encompass a wide range of international speakers and topics. Canadian Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, will be the opening plenary speaker. Internationally focused sessions will feature such diverse issues as women’s leadership in post-conflict situations like Afghanistan and Iraq, linking international human and environmental rights, Internet-based marketplaces for international grantmaking, confronting AIDS-related discrimination, and the challenge of global communicable diseases. The Council’s International Programs’ session will examine US and Canadian government counter-terrorism rules and their impact on international grantmaking.

This column was written by Rob Buchanan, Director, International Programs, Council on Foundations. He can be contacted at

Council on Foundations
Tel +1 202 466 6512
Fax +1 202 785 3926

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