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National council leader eyes new role for grantmakers

May 4, 2009

In today’s tough economic times, Steve Gunderson, chief executive of the Council on Foundations, challenged foundations across the country to “transform philanthropy’s role in society.”

According to Gunderson, grantmakers have the opportunity to innovate and forge new relationships with federal, state and local governments. New public-philanthropic partnerships have been suggested by President Obama as a way to help curb the economic fallout and assist with other national problems, such as improving American schools, expanding job training and helping the poor gain access to adequate health services.

Gunderson was addressing more than 1,200 foundation officials in Atlanta for the Council’s annual conference. Sessions focus on how grantmakers can help charities during the recession, how to stem the home foreclosure crisis, improve access to health care in America and how work with government to fight poverty at home and abroad.

Scheduled speakers are Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; former President Bill Clinton, and Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Community Foundation is a member of the Council on Foundations, a national association of grantmakers including community foundations and private foundations.

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