Who We Are

The Southeastern Council of Foundations (SECF) is a membership association of more than 360 grantmakers working together to strengthen, promote and increase philanthropy in 11 Southeastern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia). SECF itself does not make grants.

Statement of Intent:

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.


Our vision is to be a vibrant network, inspired, nurtured and led by SECF, serving as a valued resource to philanthropy in the South. Our mission is to serve, connect, strengthen and champion philanthropy and the philanthropic infrastructure in the South.

    Our Beliefs and Assumptions:

  • The South is a unique, rich, diverse region, with a strong sense of place and cultural heritage.
  • Philanthropy is a special, valuable bridge between people, organizations and communities.
  • Much of philanthropy in the South is first or second generation wealth and there is a growing need for leadership development among new philanthropists in the region.
  • A strong philanthropic infrastructure is essential to the growth of assets in the region.
  • Organized philanthropy reflects the intentions of diverse and independent donors and is often geographically focused.

    Our Values:

  • Because we understand servant leadership, we seek a balance of quality service to members and leadership in the field.
  • Because we appreciate that partnerships and collaborations help us to leverage learning, knowledge and action, we seek broad input and strategic alliances.
  • Because we believe in the power of effective leadership, we support individual development and growth.
  • Because we operate in the public trust, we practice faithful stewardship and efficient use of our resources.
  • Because we value agility and creativity, we actively listen and strive to be ready to act upon new ideas.
  • Because we value the diversity of experiences, ideas and opinions, we promote and practice inclusiveness.
  • Because we value integrity and honesty, we are committed to transparency.

Statement of Principles: (Adopted by the Board of Trustees, January 20, 2005)

Foundations are vital institutions in our country. The charitable organizations and activities they support play major roles in building a strong and healthy society. Foundations hold a unique public trust that includes legal obligations and fidelity to the purposes for which they were founded. 

We recognize that this position of public trust grants us many privileges and comes with significant obligations and responsibilities. Among those obligations is adherence to the highest levels of integrity. 

As members of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, we commit ourselves to these principles:

We will strive to serve the public good.
Foundations exist to serve charitable purposes that the public has determined to be valuable and important. Active consideration and pursuit of the public good should guide every aspect of foundations’ grantmaking and institutional life.

We will comply with all laws and regulations.
Foundation trustees and staff should have a clear knowledge and understanding of all laws and regulations that govern their work and comply with both their letter and spirit.

We will be faithful to the intent of our donors and founding mandates.
Foundations are created with monies placed in trust to accomplish specific charitable purposes as set forth in founding documents. Trustees and staff should maintain a clear understanding of their founders’ and donors’ vision and mission and be guided by this intent. When presented with changing historical contexts unforeseen by founders or donors, trustees should make every effort to bridge the gap with fresh but faithful interpretations of the original mandate.   

We will exercise prudent stewardship of resources.
Foundation trustees and staff must meet the highest level of fiduciary responsibility. They should regularly discuss the legal and ethical issues that affect their work and institute policies and practices that assure the avoidance of conflicts of interest, self-dealing and excessive compensation. 

We will conduct our work with transparency and openness.
Public trust requires public accountability. Foundations should voluntarily make available information about their activities and way of working. Trustees and staff should create an environment that encourages open and honest, two-way communication with grant seekers, grant recipients, and the community at large. 

We will treat others with respect, fairness and humility.
Foundation trustees and staff should demonstrate high regard for the communities, institutions, and individuals they engage in the course of their work. This includes being respectful of the experience, resources, insights and opinions of others; communicating promptly; handling confidential information appropriately; making informed decisions using clear, consistent guidelines; and embodying humility born of the knowledge that foundations are effective only to the extent that they work in partnership with others.

Code of Conduct:

The Southeastern Council of Foundations is composed of a broad and diverse membership of grantmakers.  At our core, we are a community of grantmakers connecting with each other to improve the practice of grantmaking in the Southeast.

At our meetings and events, we also welcome visitors from other organizations – which are not members – that participate as presenters or participants. SECF strives to create a comfortable place for all Members, visitors, and others engaged in philanthropy to exchange experiences and ideas and engage in conversations that are welcoming and of benefit to all participants. As such, SECF is not a venue for grant seekers, fundraisers, or other types of charitable solicitations during any of its meetings, events or through its publications nor is it an appropriate venue to conduct political activities. We ask that our Members and visitors not solicit at SECF-sponsored events or programs and that Members and visitors not use information obtained through their SECF membership or participation in SECF events for charitable, business or other solicitations outside of those events.