2015 Annual Meeting | April 24-28, 2015 | San Francisco, Ca

Leading Together

Hope and Opportunity in a Destabilized World

Plenary Sessions

Teamwork, Creativity, and Disruption: Leadership Lessons from the Original Innovators

Sunday, April 26 - 8:15-10:30 a.m.

Sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation.

Walter IsaacsonToday’s most complex challenges are defined by dichotomies of wealth amidst economic growth, a planet strained by increasing population and climate change, and global societies where basic freedoms and rights are at risk. Against this backdrop, collaboration and collective leadership are tantamount to social change and progress. Hear from Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of The Innovators, about the original digital age pioneers, how innovation really happens collaboratively, and what philanthropy can learn as we lead together during these destabilized times.

Breakfast will be available beginning at 8:00am. Programming will begin at 8:30am.



  • Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
  • Willie Brown, Former Mayor, City & County of San Francisco
  • Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, Council on Foundations

Willie BrownVikki Spruill

Sparking a Digital Revolution for Good: The Role of Philanthropy

Monday, April 27 - 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Sponsored by the Ford Foundation.

In the 21st century, the Internet is increasingly the platform and social commons where social issues play out to enable or hinder progress. Our digital society is now intrinsic to the missions of philanthropy – equality, access, opportunity, connections. However, as a sector, are we thinking enough about the role and influence of the Internet and technology in social change?

This two-part plenary features insights from NetGain, a Ford Foundation collaborative with the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and Open Society Foundations, that seeks to ensure the Internet continues to create opportunity for all. Attendees will then engage in an interactive dialogue fueled by technology on the implications for philanthropy and share top priorities for our sector’s role in sparking a digital revolution for good.

Breakfast will be available beginning at 8:15am. Programming will begin at 9:00am.


  • Darren Walker, President and CEO, Ford Foundation
  • Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation
  • Cyrus Farivar, Senior Business Editor, Ars Technica

Darren WalkerMitchell BakerCyrus Farivar

Our Work in Action: Voices from the Field

Monday, April 27 - 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Using an IGNITE-style format, hear stories from leaders pushing beyond traditional definitions of philanthropy to effect change across the three conference themes: natural resources and energy; economy and finance, and civil society.


  • John Kobara, California Community Foundation
  • Stephen Patrick, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions
  • Ruth Jones, Social Venture Partners
  • Heerad Sabeti,  Fourth Sector Networks
  • Carmen Rojas, The Workers Lab
  • Nikki Silvestri, Silvestri Strategies

John KobaraStephen PatrickRuth JonesHeerad SabetiCarmen Rojas

Our Future Opportunity: Philanthropy Leading Together

Tuesday, April 28 - 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

In the face of complex challenges around the globe and in our local communities, philanthropy's future can be defined today by how it chooses to lead as a collective. As individuals, philanthropists play a range of roles beyond funder to influence change, share ideas, connect people, and build bridges. As a collective, our future must be one that aggregates our diverse perspectives, resources, strengths and unique savvy for a common purpose. Join us in an honest conversation between two national leaders, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Van Jones as they share their experiences working together across differences to create a better society for all. These two CNN Crossfire Hosts will engage in an open dialogue and challenge our thinking around alliances and partnerships for the greater good.

In addition, one of the world's leading social innovators, Claire Diaz-Ortiz will be moderating this discussion. As one of Twitter's first employees, she has led their social innovation to become one of the most impactful companies on the planet, and she has helped establish Twitter itself as one of the most important platforms for civil discourse in history.

Newt GingrichVan Jones