by Wilma Norton in Foundation News
Foundation CEO Marlene Spalten joins White House conference on community foundations
Marlene Spalten, rear center, with college attainment roundtable participants outside the White House.
Marlene Spalten, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, joined a select group of leaders at the first White House convening on Community Foundations: Vital Leadership for America's Future in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 2.
The conference — organized by the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation — celebrated 100 years of community foundations in the United States and the ongoing importance of nonprofit community foundations to the strength and vitality of local communities.
The 150 community foundation leaders and top White House domestic policy officials conferred on topics including:
• College Achievement
• Racial Equality
• STEAM Education
• Affordable Care Act Enrollment
• Disaster Relieve and Infectious Disease
• Climate and Resilience
• Pre-K and Early Education
• Rural Economy
• Pay for Success and Impact Investing
"The whole idea was to help us better understand how community foundations and the public sector can work together for the betterment of our communities," Spalten said. "I'm honored to be invited to participate. Ongoing communication to these policy makers can be invaluable to the work we do in the Tampa Bay region."
Spalten said she was especially interested in the critical work community foundations are doing in the area of college attainment and achievement. She participated in a roundtable on the issue, which is one of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay's key areas of interest.
"We had interesting, productive conversations on all the topics," she said. "I came away with expanded ideas and perspectives on domestic policy issues that are of interest to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and our donors, and I look forward to continuing the conversation."
In a statement to welcome the group, President Obama thanked community foundations for their work.
"For a full century, community foundations have reflected the compassion and selflessness of our Nation's spirit," he wrote. "By offering critical support and new opportunities in communities of all sizes – from remote towns to bustling cities and tribal nations – they bring comfort and care to those in need and instill in community members a sense that they can help improve the world around them. Community foundations promote accountability and effectiveness in charitable giving, and the investments these organizations make today help find solutions that will shape the Nation we leave to our daughters and sons."