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Valerie S. Lies
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Valerie S. Lies was appointed President and CEO of Donors Forum, an association of Illinois funders, nonprofit, and advisors, in 1987. The founding chair of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Valerie is on the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) as well as the Diversity in Philanthropy Project. She is co-chair of the Illinois Attorney General's Charitable Advisory Council and is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Human Services. She also serves on the Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise Development. Valerie has received numerous awards and honors; including being named, most recently in 2012, by The Nonprofit Times as one of the sector’s “Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders” in the United States.

Entries by Valerie S. Lies

How Philanthropy Is Changing the Culture on Full Cost Funding

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 4:48 PM

Breaking the nonprofit starvation cycle is not easy, but exciting progress keeps happening. To keep that momentum going, a great deal of culture change is needed. It is an entrenched mindset that has existed for a long time, one that asks nonprofit organizations to eke by with little to no...

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Trust and Transparency are a Two Way Street

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 10:42 AM

In a recent national Gallup poll measuring public trust in state governments, Illinois did not fare well. Out of all fifty states, our residents trust state government to help solve their problems the least. That's not good news for government and that's not good news for nonprofits, which...

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Consider the Giraffe, That Improbable Change Agent

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Last year my organization completed an intensive strategic planning process that relied -- and continues to rely -- on input from the nonprofit sector across the state of Illinois to identify what the priorities should be for an association of nonprofits and foundations serving a state with more than its...

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To Protect Their Missions, Nonprofits Must Actively Engage Legislators

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 1:22 PM

The state of Illinois took a big step toward resolving its dire financial position last week when the state assembly passed legislation to reform Illinois' public pension system. Having been underfunded to the tune of $100 billion, the bill aims to cut $160 billion in pension liabilities over...

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Legislators Need to Get the Message That Government Shutdowns Hurt Nonprofits

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 5:24 PM

Now that the shutdown of the federal government has been lifted it's time to assess the damage it has done to nonprofits. We've read a lot about the pain the shutdown has inflicted on federal workers and contractors, but many nonprofits across the state of Illinois and the country have...

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How Nonprofits and Government Can Work Together To Tackle Illinois Challenges

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 5:18 PM

This week, I had the honor of joining many of my fellow nonprofit leaders for the inaugural meeting of the Illinois Nonprofit Advisory Council, launched by Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

The first of its kind in the nation, the Council was created by Comptroller Topinka to...

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It's Time for Real Talk About Real Nonprofit Overhead Costs

(2) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 4:11 PM

On June 17, the leaders of the nation's three most prominent charity watchdog groups released a landmark letter to donors in America calling for them to consider other factors in addition to overhead costs when making their giving choices.

This is a welcome development for donors and nonprofits...

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Why Illinois Nonprofits Should Care About IRS' Treatment of Tea Party

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 2:10 PM

As the hub of Illinois' diverse philanthropic and nonprofit community, Donors Forum has been following with great interest the story of how the IRS processed the tax-exempt applications of various Tea Party affiliated groups.

As usual, much of the media coverage out of Washington has focused on the...

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Nonprofits Need Solutions to Illinois' Budget Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 6:28 PM

It's no secret the State of Illinois faces an enormous budget crisis. Vital services across the state are being squeezed out to pay for past-due obligations to pension plans and debt service. According to The Civic Federation, if the state doesn't act to curb these costs, the state's...

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The Economic Power of Not Making a Profit

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 4:37 PM

As Illinois tries to resuscitate its economy, lawmakers should know that some of the state's biggest job producers are the ones that don't make any money.

That's one lesson to emerge from new research that shows that Illinois' nonprofit community represents the state's fourth-largest employer, accounting for more...

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