Verne Sedlacek visits Perth
On the 24th of October, Giving West was privileged to host Verne Sedlacek, President and CEO of Commonfund, based in the USA, for a series of events. Commonfund is a unique not-for-profit originally established by the Ford Foundation, which provides strategy and investment management services to non-profits (including university and hospital foundations), representing over 1,500 organisations with US$24 billion in managed funds. Along with many other achievements, Verne was formerly Chief Financial Officer for the Harvard University Foundation, which at the time of his tenure was worth US$14 billion.
During his whirlwind first visit to Australia, Verne shared expert insights into current philanthropic trends in the US, as well as investment strategies for philanthropists and not-for-profit foundations in a post-global financial crisis climate.
Addressing a group of board members, trustees and senior staff of NFP foundations in the afternoon, Verne spoke emphatically about the need for board members to be up-skilled in fundraising for their organisations. This included proposing training board members in “the ask” – or how to approach potential funders, and the effective leverage of board members networks in seeking support for an organisation.
Verne also raised the need for NFPs to invest significantly in development, and to provide support to their fundraising executives if they wanted to see the best results from their efforts.