It’s an exciting month at the Council! We are honored to announce that Kathleen P. Enright will be our new President and CEO, effective March 5. She will provide the kind of strong, forward-thinking leadership the field of philanthropy needs in this moment of unprecedented change, opportunity, and potential in our country and our field.

For the last 17 years, Kathleen has led Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). Kathleen’s appointment equips the Council on Foundations to become a better partner and contributor in the rapidly shifting landscape of the world and the philanthropic field.

Amidst the excitement of this announcement, here are a few things that I’ve been discussing with Council members and partners this month:

  • Closing Space and impacts on cross-border philanthropy – along with hearing stories of increased challenges for international non-profits working in Pakistan, I’ve had several conversations in recent weeks about the increasing challenges of working in a number of other countries as well, from difficulties with bank accounts in Venezuela to enhanced sanctions in Syria and EU action on NGO restrictions in Hungary. Please be in touch as you face new challenges due to changes in laws and regulations that impact cross-border giving. The Council works closely with foundations working all over the world and can help connect you with resources, partners, and/or peer funders as needed to assist your grantmaking.
  • Disaster Response & Climate Change – the recent earthquake in Indonesia was devastating, leveling the city of Palu. As cleanup there continues, other communities around the world are also responding to changing weather conditions that impact weather and cause or worsen natural disasters. The recent report by the global Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a call for help and call to action for the world. Can we truly bring “all hands” on deck to respond, and how will philanthropy engage, especially following new philanthropic commitments made at the Global Climate Action Summit?
  • Human Capital – The World Bank released their new and much anticipated Human Capital Index this month. The Bank is attempting to explore linkages between education, health, and economic production within and across countries. The call to focus on and invest in people, not just institutions, infrastructure, and systems, to help achieve ambitious targets like ending extreme poverty for all reflects the Gates Foundation’s call via their 2018 Goalkeepers Report to focus on youth, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, to achieve the SDGs.