The Council on Foundations Announces Professional Development Working Groups for 2015 Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Arlington, VA

Today, the Council on Foundations (Council) announced the professional development working groups for its 2015 Annual Meeting in San Francisco scheduled for April 26 – 28. These working groups will be partnering with the Council’s staff and leadership to develop world-class programming that speaks to the core concerns of each foundation type. 

Drawing its members from foundations, research institutions, and the nonprofit sector, this diverse group of leaders and experts will ensure that the Council’s annual meeting is highlighting the most important ideas and issues driving the future of the philanthropic field. These groups will advise on programming and help create content that addresses the critical issues facing the philanthropy. 

“This year’s professional development working groups will ensure that programs specific to the needs of every foundation will be part of the annual meeting experience,” said Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “With these experts leading our programming for professional development, I am confident the Council’s Annual Meeting will facilitate new connections, exchanges, and encourage an increase in collaboration within the broader philanthropic community.”

Next week, the Council will announce the Corporate Grantmaking working group for its constituent-related programming.

The professional development working groups for community and family at the Annual Meeting, as well as working group participants, are as follows:

Professional Development Working Groups

Community Foundations


  • Dan Baldwin - President and CEO, The Community Foundation for Monterey County
  • Fred Blackwell - Chief Executive Officer, The San Francisco Foundation

Content Co-Chairs

  • Stuart Comstock-Gay - President and CEO, Vermont Community Foundation
  • Mike Goorhouse - President and CEO, Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
  • Susan Hallett - Vice President of Programs, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia
  • Lee Christian Parker - Senior Director of Philanthropic Services, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
  • Geeta Pradhan - Associate Vice President for Programs, The Boston Foundation
  • Jen Rice - Director of Community Strategies, Humboldt Area Foundation
  • R. Randall Royster - President and CEO, Albuquerque Foundation
  • Janet Y. Spears - Chief Operating Officer, East Bay Community Foundation

Family Foundations


  • Christine Elbel - Executive Director, Fleishhacker Foundation
  • Mary Galeti - Vice Chair, Tecovas Foundation

Content Co-Chairs

  • Berit Ashla - Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
  • Ellen Friedman - Executive Director, Compton Foundation
  • Nelli Garton - Trustee, Marie C. & Joseph C. Wilson Foundation
  • Michael Moody - Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University
  • Tiffany Price - Strategic Partnerships and Grants Manager, Kapor Center for Social Impact
  • Ariana Snowdon - Trustee, The Hill-Snowdon Foundation
  • Shelley Trott - Director, Arts Strategy and Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation
  • Kathy Whelpley - Executive Vice President, National Center for Family Philanthropy

Additional members may be added to working groups to ensure the meeting includes various aspects of thought-leadership.

Along with specific programming for community, family, and corporate foundations, the 2015 Annual Meeting will feature three issue-related focus areas: Natural Resources and Energy, Civil Society, and Economy and Finance.

The 2015 Annual Meeting will be held at the Marriott Marquis San Francisco Hotel on April 26 – 28.  The theme of the gathering is “Leading Together: Hope and Opportunity in a Destabilized World.”  The meeting will focus on ways that foundation leaders can collaborate more effectively in order to meet some of today’s toughest and most complex challenges.

Participation will include over 1,000 leaders in the philanthropic field, including chief executive officers, executive directors, board members, trustees, and senior program and management staff of foundations from across the globe.

To learn more, please visit the meeting website.


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.