Philanthropy is an important bridge within societies. In today’s world of growing nationalism and division, it has an even more critical role to play. We see funders of all types and sizes working across divides to drive social change, from strengthening democracy and civic engagement in increasingly partisan societies to facilitating interfaith dialogue amidst growing multiculturalism. Within our sector, we also see new types of funders challenging long-held conventions of philanthropy and working in new ways to drive change. How best can foundations continue serving as a critical bridge across these divides? Together, we will explore how foundations can leverage a variety of assets, whether its financial, intellectual, or the power to convene, to facilitate conversation, to develop unlikely collaborations, or to ask the difficult questions that bring people together across perspectives and positions.
Tuesday, April 30 — 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Local journalism plays a key role in our democracy by helping ensure that communities are informed and civically engaged. With the digital disruption dismantling the traditional business model for local news and contributing to the loss of more than 23,000 local journalism jobs in the last decade, we must identify new methods and models to inform communities and support reporting that will hold government and institutions accountable. Alberto Ibarguen, President of the Knight Foundation, will moderate a terrific lineup of speakers, including John Thornton, founder of the Texas Tribune, who are building trust in journalism and serving local communities.
Speakers: Alberto Ibargüen, CEO, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; John Thornton, Founder, Texas Tribune
Tuesday, April 30 — 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Today, America is fractured across many divisions. Religion can continue to be a barrier of division, or it can be engaged as a bridge of cooperation for all communities. As conveners and leaders within civil society, foundations have a critical role to play in protecting America’s long tradition of religious pluralism and rebuilding the civic fabric of our nation. The intersectionality of religion with race and ethnicity is also an important consideration for philanthropy. Hear from a suite of leaders about concrete ways that foundations can strengthen American pluralism by building connections within and across communities to better understand the ways that faith impact democracy and diversity in America today.
Funding A Level Set on Racism: How Philanthropic Organizations are Addressing Structural Racism and Bias in their Communities
Wednesday, May 1 — 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
How can philanthropic organizations unite to tackle serious, and often uncomfortable, social issues to move communities forward? This session will showcase cross-organizational and cross-sector efforts to confront attitudes and practices that divide communities along racial and ethnic lines. The session will focus on collaborations happening in Cleveland, OH, and other communities to address racism and bias in social systems.
Speakers: Melissa DeShields, CEO, Frontline Solutions; Joel Ratner, President & CEO, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress; Mary Sobecki, Executive Director, Needmor Fund
Moderator: India Pierce Lee, Senior Vice President, Program, Cleveland Foundation