While I have enjoyed making the contacts and hanging out in the CEO track sessions, I decided to session hop on Monday afternoon. I found, that while well meaning, the CEO air was a tad rarefied and discussion aimed high-brow as my colleagues discussed high-impact investments and donor embeddedness with a hint of detachment. Not a judgment, just an observation. In my previous life in higher education and the social justice movement, I used to get so frustrated with colleagues who only spoke with like-minded individuals. The discussion would be insular, myopic, and peppered with gross over-generalization. (Please know I’m being dramatic for contrast, not indictment.) So it was time to take my own advice and seek other discussions and points of view.
After my time at the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) conference this past week, I walked away with a lot of reflection points. What struck me most about the conversations I experienced, both during the sessions and with colleagues, was that they were not just about vision, change, and success in philanthropy. They also were about being conscious of the things that can inspire us to do better, both today and in the future.
The beginning of opening session is just a few short minutes away. I arrive early to find a seat while trying to avoid the strobe light clearly flashing above my head. As I loiter in the lobby, here are some general impressions thus far.
Each one of us has 86,400 seconds per day to live, work, love, play and/or fritter away. Indeed time is the nonrenewable resource. Threaded through the last weeks, I have reached out to colleagues in the foundation sector to be sure that my time at the Council of Foundations Annual Conference is leveraged to build connective tissue. At The Patterson Foundation we strive to learn from the best and brightest to “build connective tissue to create new realities.” My dance card is full (yes, I am showing my age with that analogy) with opportunities to immerse with other “passionaries” as we toil to make positive change in the world.
The Council on Foundations Annual Conference brings together grantmakers from all over the world to learn from each other and discuss best practices and critical issues in philanthropy. There is something for everyone at this conference, and the energy of all of us together is powerful and inspiring. This week, more than1,200 of us are in Los Angeles for workshops, site sessions, networking, and learning.
The Council on Foundations (COF) recently released the 2011 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report. The sample includes 910 total foundations of which 544 are COF members. As Rick Cohen notes on his piece about the survey, the survey suffers from the limitations of self-reporting, as do most all of our sector’s data. That said, there are some important trends in the makeup of foundation demographics and compensation that are worth noting:
At the Council on Foundations Global Grantmaking Institute (GGI), participants grappled with the fact that wicked problems do not have single-sourced solutions, nor is there a clearly demarcated path leading to success in overcoming these problems. Our esteemed faculty gently but ever so consistently prodded us to accept that despite our best intentions as grantmakers, we will fail. This was no easy task in a room full of determined individuals representing foundations with mission statements that express the intention to end poverty and alleviate suffering.
At the Council on Foundations’ Global Grantmaking Institute (GGI) this week, participants are examining the essentials in the effective global grantmaker’s toolkit: our hearts, minds, stomachs, and ears.
I had the privilege this week to join my first Council on Foundations Family Philanthropy Conference. It was a remarkable gathering of some 600 philanthropic leaders and advisers from across the U.S. and international Foundations. The program and various highlights are detailed on the conference website.
I had the pleasure of spending the past four days in Miami Beach at the Council on Foundations’ annual Family Philanthropy Conference.