FOTH 2024 – Update

From February 25 – 28, Virginia Funders Network participated in United Philanthropy Forum’s Foundations on the Hill, the largest annual public policy and advocacy conference dedicated solely to the philanthropic sector. Representatives from foundations and peer philanthropy-serving organizations (PSO’s) around the country gathered for three days of workshops, networking, learning, and visits to Capitol Hill to talk with our elected officials. In addition to hearing speakers address some of philanthropy’s critical issues and opportunities, one of the most valuable aspects to me was hearing how other PSOs – like VFN – address the issues in their state, how they support their members, and how they have been successful.
I was so pleased that a funding member of VFN, Christy Connolly from the PATH Foundation, participated in the event. We visited the offices of both of Virginia’s US Senators, and 3 offices of the US House of Representatives (Virginia’s 7th, 8th, and 10th Congressional Districts).  We were well supported by our colleagues at Philanthropy Southeast, and we also met with peers from our northern PSO colleagues, Philanthropy DMV and Maryland Philanthropy Network. I hope that in 2025 we are able to have an even bigger delegation from Virginia, so please consider attending in early 2025. 
Robin Mockenhaupt
Dir., Policy & Advocacy, VFN

Reflections from PATH's CEO, Christy Connolly

Like many of you, I’ve often considered the role of government versus philanthropy, and I’ve wondered where there could be more of an intersection. To understand this a bit more, I decided to participate, for my first time, in Foundations on the Hill. It was a great learning experience! Most of all, it was very nice and natural to share PATH’s work and to provide district data and stories with our representatives. I had the opportunity to celebrate the nonprofit sector, offer meaningful examples of our work in community, and tell the story of Virginia philanthropic collaboration.

Among the stories I shared was the success of our nonprofit partner Morgan’s Message, which strives to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community. Their 1,600 chapters and nearly 4,700 ambassadors nationwide on college and high school campuses are changing the dialogue and supporting those in need. PATH’s work in community has seen over 5,000 residents and 2,000 young people trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Teen Mental Health First Aid, respectively. To the importance of collaboration among funders, I shared the work of 20 foundations partnering on training for mid-level providers, like Nurse Practitioners, in the mental health space. This is just skimming the top.

I’d like to thank VFN’s Robin Mockenhaupt and Philanthropy Southeast’s Stephen Sherman for all the preparation and guidance. They made the conference and Hill visits so easy and productive. I would encourage you to consider participating in the future.


Christy M. Connolly

President/CEO, PATH Foundation