In January I took on a new role as President and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. I am incredibly excited to have an opportunity to lead a vibrant and growing organization in the philanthropy sector.
The Forum is the largest network serving philanthropy in America, consisting of 33 regional philanthropy associations—including Associated Grant Makers—with more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum Network’s greatest strength is that we bring together the dual assets of deep regional roots and a broad nationwide reach. No other organization in philanthropy brings these assets to the table in the way that we do.
The Forum supports and advances the work of AGM and its regional association colleagues in many ways. We offer staff professional development and peer-to-peer networking opportunities to help people be effective in their regional association work. We strengthen philanthropy’s voice in public policy by building regional associations’ capacity to engage in policy work. We provide an effective vehicle to allow regional associations to share data, information and resources. And we help regional associations pool their resources and expertise to better serve their members.
The Forum operates as a true network that relies on the contributions of all of its regional association members, and AGM is an active contributor to the network. AGM Executive Director Jeff Poulos serves on the Forum’s board of directors, and various AGM staff contribute to the Forum Network through committee service and in many other ways. AGM brings particularly notable expertise to our national network in how to effectively bring together funders and their nonprofit partners. Forum members will continue to learn a great deal from AGM’s leadership in this and other areas.
Over the next two years, the Forum will begin implementing a new vision. We plan to broaden our network to bring together the assets of the Forum with the assets of national philanthropy-serving organizations—specifically national issue-based, identity-based and practice-based affinity groups—to create a “one stop shop” for philanthropies to find and engage others with similar interests, share knowledge and advance policy. We will put our new vision into action through an inclusive, collaborative, iterative and co-designed process with current and new partners, guided by a design team comprised equally of representatives of regional associations and national affinity groups.
I’m honored to be taking over the helm of the Forum at this pivotal moment for the organization and for the philanthropy field. Working with wonderful members and partners like Associated Grant Makers, I am committed to making significant progress in how we support, connect and advance philanthropy in our country.
By David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
David’s experience includes working for ten years at the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) as its vice president and president of communications and information services. He spent six years working at Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN), from 2009 through 2015, the last 4.5 years as President & CEO. David has also served as a consultant for a variety of foundations and other philanthropic clients in the areas of communications, public policy and accountability.