Preconference Sessions

Preconference Sessions

The Perfect Start to Your Conference Experience

Separate registration is required for many of these events. Space is limited. Sign up today.

A Global Engagement

Saturday, April 6, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Join the Council and a diverse array of colleagues for a daylong immersion in global grantmaking. This gathering will focus on provocative and challenging ideas that can help move the needle in global philanthropy for years to come. Expect a stimulating day of thought-provoking ideas and practical tools on a wide range of topics.

Program Schedule:

Civil Society and the Law: The Changing State of Play and What Funders Can Do About It
9–10 a.m.

Around the world, the rules governing the nonprofit sector are becoming stricter, challenging not just the capacity of civil society to do its essential work but also the ability of funders to support it. A Global Engagement opens with an important dialogue on the state of play for regulating the nonprofit sector in emerging markets and elsewhere in the global South and what funders must do to address the growing challenges.

Speed Networking
10–10:45 a.m.

Make contact with conference participants you'd like to connect with in greater depth later in the week.

Six Bold Ideas for Global Philanthropy
10:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

More than a decade into the 21st century, the time is ripe to ask if global philanthropy is rising to the huge challenges before us. In this lively and stimulating session, thought leaders will offer bold idea for global philanthropy that could help the sector more effectively operate in a fast-changing world and remodel the way philanthropy does its work. Then, following lunch, participants will break into small groups to delve more deeply into each of the six bold ideas:
  • Bold Opportunities for Philanthropy in the Digital Age
    How does the digital infrastructure that connects us via mobile phone, data, and the Internet change how we organize ourselves in philanthropy? Rob Reich and Lucy Bernholz of Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society will look at some of the potential governance, organizational, and financial implications for using private resources for public good in a digital age.
  • Social Entrepreneurship as a Tool to Empower Marginalized Communities
    Social entrepreneurship has emerged as a powerful tool to invest in social change work, but do current structures and investment practices favor the already privileged while closing doors to talented social change agents from more marginalized communities? Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenburg of Akili Dada will explore how social entrepreneurship can become a tool that more efficiently distributes finite investment dollars to the very best ideas and leaders.
  • Values and Evidence—Not at Odds: Seeking a Healthier Relationship With Results in International Philanthropy
    What do you need to avoid “obsessive measurement disorder” and listen more effectively to your partners? Jennifer Lentfer of discusses the increasing fixation with “what works" in international philanthropy and its implications on change-leaders working on the ground.
  • The Case for Human Rights Grantmaking
    A human rights framework is a sorely underutilized strategy for achieving powerful social change. Daniel Lee, executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, will illustrate the power of this important tool and make the case for its bold deployment in global grantmaking.
  • The Lemming Dilemma: How Foundations Can Address Important Trends Without Running Off the Cliff
    There are times when it makes sense to follow the fashion in funding international work, and times when it doesn’t. Adele Simmons of the Global Philanthropy Partnership will discuss the “Lemming Dilemma”: When it’s okay for philanthropy to follow the latest trends, when it’s not, and how foundations can avoid running off the cliff.
  • The Scaffolding of Social Change: Building a Data System for Wise Philanthropy
    Social change is hard. Data can help us make better decisions, but most of us are overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of sources, opinions, and options. (There are 371 different online information platforms for social change!) How can we make sense of this chaotic but promising landscape? Jacob Harold of GuideStar offers a vision for an integrated information system to support wise decisions in our shared work for a better world.
Networking Lunch
12:45–1:30 p.m.

Bold Ideas: Small Group Discussions, Part One
1:45–2:45 p.m.

Participants will select the three bold ideas they’d like to discuss and debate with presenters and other participants.

Bold Ideas: Small Group Discussions, Part Two
3–4 p.m.

The day continues with a second round of three small group discussions on the bold ideas presented earlier in the day.

A Challenge to Act Boldly
4:15–5 p.m.

A Global Engagement concludes with report-outs from each of the small group discussions and a challenge to global grantmakers to act even more boldly.

Session Designer: John Harvey, Managing Director, Global Philanthropy, Council on Foundations
Speakers: John Harvey, Managing Director, Global Philanthropy, Council on Foundations, Lucy Bernholz, Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Daniel J. Lee, Executive Director, Levi Strauss Foundation, Douglas Rutzen, President and CEO, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Jacob Harold, President and CEO, GuideStar, Jennifer Lentfer, Founder,, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Founder and Executive Director, Akili Dada, Adele Simmons, President, Global Philanthropy Partnership, Joshua Mintz, Vice President and General Counsel, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

An Evening of Global Networking

Saturday, April 6, 5:30–9:30 p.m
Cap off a great day of learning by spending the evening with your global grantmaking peers, including a special event with CEMEFI (the Mexican Center for Philanthropy), speed networking, and the annual global philanthropy dinner. Download the agenda.

Evolving the Narrative: Defining the Value and Impact of Your Corporate Philanthropy

Sunday, April 7, 8–11 a.m.
Most business and philanthropic thought leaders acknowledge that corporations must transform themselves to increase impact on society, and some argue that social and business value can happen simultaneously. For those on the sidelines, however, making the case for the impact and value of corporate philanthropy remains challenging. Join us to hear from colleagues who will help demystify the process. You’ll also learn how to frame a compelling strategic story that serves as a "tipping point” for gaining internal support and credibility for your corporate philanthropy program.

Moderator: Ann W. Cramer, Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Associates
Session Designers: Kimberly H. Young, Director of Corporate Services, Council on Foundations, Heather Loebner, Executive Director, USA Foundation and CR Governance Board and Manager, Corporate, ArcelorMittal, Nicole R. Robinson, President, Mondelez International Foundation, 2013 Annual Conference Task Force Member
Speakers: Nicole R. Robinson, President, Mondelez International Foundation, 2013 Annual Conference Task Force Member, Jacob A. Gayle, Vice President of Community Affairs and Executive Director, Medtronic Foundation, Joy H. Marini, Director, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

The Council on Foundations is a national nonprofit association of more than 1,700 grantmaking foundations and corporations. As the leading advocate for philanthropy, we strive to increase the effectiveness, stewardship, and accountability of our sector while providing our members with the services and support they need to advance the common good.