Event Highlights

Giving Done Right| Phil Buchanan at the Boston Foundation, April 2019

On April 23, the Boston Foundation was pleased to co-host an evening with author and Center for Effective Philanthropy president Phil Buchanan, discussing his new book, Giving Done Right. The event, co-hosted by the Barr Foundation and Philanthropy Massachusetts, along with the Center for Effective Philanthropy, featured a discussion hosted by Barr Foundation President Jim Canales, and audience Q and A. Thanks to Phil, a longtime friend of the Boston Foundation and the other co-hosts, for spending the evening with us.

Working Well With Grantees| A Webinar on Funder/Grantee relationships from the Center for Effective Philanthropy and Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF), February 2017

This webinar hosted by the Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) and the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) explored how to build strong and effective relationships with your grantees. In this webinar, CEP Vice President, Assessment and Advisory Services, Kevin Bolduc shared findings from CEP’s research and explored what analysis of thousands of grantee perceptions showed to define a strong relationship between funders and grantees. Bolduc discussed which specific practices set the stage for success, including transparency with grantees. He then briefly interviewed The Healing Trust President and CEO Kristen Keely-Dinger and Program and Communications Officer Jennifer Oldham. The Healing Trust is an exemplar among funders in CEP’s dataset for the strength of its relationships with grantees, and the interview discussed insights about how The Trust approaches building relationships with its grantees.

Listen to a recording of the webinar here.

Foundation Effectiveness: What Is It and Why Is It So Darn Difficult? | Phil Buchanan at the Southeastern Council of Foundations 46th Annual Meeting, November 2015

Phil Buchanan discusses why foundation effectiveness is uniquely difficult. He then suggests that there are four essential ingredients of foundation effectiveness – explaining each in turn and why they are hard to put into practice.

What Community Foundation Donors Value and Why It Matters | A Webinar on Donor Satisfaction from the Center for Effective Philanthropy and CFLeads

New research from CEP shows that donor satisfaction matters: donors who are more satisfied with their community foundation are more likely to continue giving and more likely to recommend the foundation to others. The research, What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving, also reveals key contributors to donor satisfaction, offering community foundations practical insights for how to improve.

How Far Have Foundations Come? | A Webinar Featuring Larry Kramer, Darren Walker, Kate Wolford, Phil Buchanan, and Ellie Buteau, March 2014

CEP research reveals that foundation CEOs have a sober take on overall progress toward key goals, but a more positive view of their own foundations’ contributions. CEOs see the greatest barriers to making more progress as outside their own foundations’ walls.

What’s going on? Are foundation CEOs deluding themselves? Or are foundations contributing more than is widely recognized? To the extent that barriers exist, are they indeed primarily outside the foundations’ walls – or do foundations need to look harder at what they can do differently, and better?

CEOs from three large foundations reacted to CEP’s report How Far Have We Come? Foundation CEOs on Progress and Impact during a well-attended CEP webinar held in March, 2014. Larry Kramer, Kate Wolford, and Darren Walker responded to a summary of the findings from CEP’s Vice President for Research Ellie Buteau in a lively, hard-hitting discussion moderated by CEP President Phil Buchanan.

To purchase access to a recording of the webinar, please click here.

Minnesota Council on Foundations Fast Forward: Phil Buchanan, February 2014

CEP President Phil  Buchanan talks with Minnesota Council on Foundations President Trista Harris about effective practice in philanthropy, tools The Center for Effective Philanthropy offers, and advice for what foundations can do when they’re interested in starting down this path.


What Are Foundations For? A Panel Debate on Philanthropy and Democracy – Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, May 2013

Rob Reich explores the role of foundations in democratic societies and argues that foundations can gain legitimacy in spite of their plutocratic power through their work in supporting pluralism and in long-run social policy innovation, in this Ash Center Democracy Seminar. CEP President Phil Buchanan argues that foundations can and do serve a vital role in our democracy, and on the list of things to worry about in terms of concentrations of power, influence, and money – foundations are not as high as some others.



Power & Light: Grappling with Transparency and Effectiveness – San Francisco, California, December 2011

Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, argues not for transparency “absolutism,” but for a link between transparency and effectiveness. He asserts that it is essential to be forthcoming about the foundation’s goals, strategies, and indicators. Buchanan argues that transparency is crucial when a foundation has evidence about performance or programmatic effectiveness, and it is a funder’s moral obligation to inform others who may be working on similar strategies of what works and what doesn’t.


Reclaiming the Moral Life of Philanthropy – The Hudson Institute, July 2011

Has philanthropy begun to lose its moral bearings? Has it become more concerned with the means than the ends? Speaking on a panel at The Hudson Institute, CEP President Phil Buchanan joins Atlantic Philanthropies president Gara LaMarche, the Center for Social Inclusion’s Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion, and the Bradley Center’s Director William Schambra. Buchanan argues that philanthropy strays from what is right when it neglects to assess impact. When foundations don’t do the necessary work to confirm the fact that they are actually helping, then philanthropy is falling short of its moral obligation to beneficiaries.


Phil Buchanan Interviewed on CBC’s “The Lang and O’Leary Exchange,” October 2010

CEP President Phil Buchanan appeared on CBC’s “The Lang and O’Leary Exchange” to discuss philanthropy and how to know whether or not donors are giving their money effectively. Buchanan highlights the difficulty of standard measurement in philanthropy while arguing that finding the most effective nonprofit aligned with your goals, without focusing on overhead expenses, is a great strategy for achieving impact. Buchanan closes by posing some tough questions about impact investing and aligning a foundation’s endowment with their mission.

Phil Buchanan Recognized as Distinguished Alumnus – Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, October 2008

CEP President Phil Buchanan discusses his passion for improving the performance of philanthropy when receiving a distinguished young alumnus award from the Catlin Gabel School. He shares personal stories from his time as a student, explains the work of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and urges students to become civically engaged and to consider a career in the nonprofit sector.

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