Calendar of Events
Prev MonthPrev Month Next MonthNext Month
Webinar: Heart & Soul Philanthropy
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Category: Events

SECF Header

Become a Catalyst for Transformation
with Community Heart & Soul

Featuring the Orton Family Foundation and the J. Marion Sims Foundation

Thursday, June 29, 2017 · 2:00pm - 3:00pm (ET)


About the webinar:

Join Susan DeVenny, president of the J. Marion Sims Foundation, and Gabrielle Ratté Smith, senior associate of strategic partnerships at the Orton Family Foundation, to learn about an inclusive approach that leads to positive transformation in small cities and towns and can help enrich the work of your foundation.

The J. Marion Sims Foundation has made it a priority to be a catalyst for change that transforms the communities it serves. The foundation is also committed to getting broad and deep participation from all residents, especially from those who are often unheard when it comes to community decision-making.

This level of engagement is a challenge. But it’s one the foundation believes it is meeting through Community Heart & Soul, a model developed by its partner, the Orton Family Foundation. (You can read more about this partnership on SECF’s Engage blog!)

In this webinar, you’ll learn how Community Heart & Soul builds stronger, healthier, and more economically vibrant small cities and towns. You’ll also gain insight into how Community Heart & Soul: 

  • actively seeks the collective wisdom of all residents, including those
    whose voices are often missing;
  • builds trust among individuals, groups, and institutions;
  • takes into account the unique character of a town;
  • recognizes the deep emotional connection of the people who live there; and
  • leads to decisions based on what matters most. 

About the Speakers:

Susan W. DeVenny
President & CEO, J. Marion Sims Foundation

Susan DeVenny leads the Foundation’s day-to-day vision and operations together with the board, community advisors, and staff. Susan brings over 30 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sector, most recently serving as the state director for SC First Steps to School Readiness, South Carolina’s early childhood agency. She has served on numerous national, state and local boards, was elected as Secretary of the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 2009, and currently serves on the Waterford Institute Advisory Board, the Southeastern Council on Foundations Public Policy Committee, Winthrop University’s Graduate School Advisory Board, and the SC ETV Advisory Board. She serves as a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum Charlotte Region and as a Fellow with The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative at Furman University. Susan holds degrees from Furman University and the University of Georgia, and has lived in Lancaster with her family since 1988.


Gabrielle Smith
Senior Associate for Strategic Partnerships

Gabrielle is a great cook, thanks to her Italian-American mother, and enjoys sharing what she makes as much as making it. She was a founding member of Community Heart & Soul in Essex, Vermont. She worked as a prevention and wellness consultant in local schools, helping to start a farm-to-school program. As Associate Director of the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, she coordinated and supported more than 100 member coalitions. She grew up in Clifton Park, New York (pop. 36,000). After working to support small towns in Wisconsin for over a decade, she lives in Essex with her husband and twin son and daughter.


Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree St. NW · Suite 2080 · Atlanta, GA · 30303  · (404) 524-0911

The Southeastern Council of Foundations strives to support Members and grantmakers with access to education, resources and networking by serving as a convener and facilitator, offering a diverse range of voices and perspectives. We do not endorse colleague organization views, but rather aim to provide access to a broad range of information and resources to increase grantmaking impact and develop philanthropic leaders throughout the region.