Leading Together 2021 | A Virtual Experience

June 14-17

Seeking common groundSeeking Common Ground Icon

These sessions sparked conversations that challenge philanthropy to bridge divides, explore unlikely partnerships and engage with different points of view. This conference theme was generously supported by the Walton Family Foundation.

Bridging Across Toxic Political Division

Tuesday, June 15 | 1:10-2:00 p.m. ET

The violent breach of the U.S. Capitol represents only the beginning of the destructive effects toxic polarization will bring to America if left unchecked. Researchers see America’s polarization crisis as closer to political sectarianism -- and they point to how so many of us perceive those with political beliefs opposed to ours as alien, unsavory and acting immorally, if not illegally.

Fortunately, there are many nonprofit practitioners leveraging well-practiced, evidence-based methodologies to address this. Join a conversation about what it takes to help individuals understand each other across these divides and convene collaborative dialogues across differences to find consensus solutions to critical challenges. How do we build trust between people who don’t believe they can work with each other? How might Members of Congress expand bipartisan collaboration? How do bridging organizations create safe spaces for all participants? What kinds of bridging work represents Kumbaya naivete and what is evidence-based? Where might funders look to understand the field of bridging work?

Led by Convergence, a nonprofit operating at the intersection of bridging divides and problem-solving through collaborative dialogue, this session will advance answers to those questions. Attendees will engage with leaders from the nonprofit and think tank environments, participants in collaborative dialogues from opposing political perspectives, and a Congressional Committee chair encouraging Congressional colleagues to embrace bipartisan collaboration.

Bridging Federal and State Political Divides to Address Family Economic Inequality

Tuesday, June 15 | 1:10-2:00 p.m. ET

Join the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, and the American Public Human Services Association on their journey to advance whole family approaches to economic mobility, leveraging a unique public-private partnership with diverse perspectives including legislators, state and federal officials, business leaders, nonprofits, philanthropy and parents. These partners bridged jurisdictions, party lines, and state borders during very divisive times to find bipartisan solutions to overcome policy barriers across government and advance family economic mobility.

Please Forgive Our Mess. We’re Building Trust Here.

Wednesday, June 16 | 1:20-2:10 p.m. ET

Building relationships and trust is messy. Where do you start? And how do you keep moving forward, when sometimes it seems impossible to find common ground? York County Community Foundation embarked on a journey starting in 2018 to intentionally build bridges and work together with people of color to acknowledge where our community has been and develop opportunities to move forward together. Come learn from our experience, as we share candid insights.

A Census Like No Other: A Multi-Sector, Community-Focused Partnership

Wednesday, June 16 | 2:20-3:10 p.m. ET

Despite having millions of households considered “hard-to-count,” and being challenged by a global pandemic, California successfully implemented Census outreach in 2020, generating a 69.6% response rate, higher than the national average response rate. In this session, foundation, advocacy, and government voices detail how their partnership supported this success, and what they did – and what you can do – to build and strengthen multiracial democracy.

Collective Action Strategies for Advancing Health Equity: Addressing Root Causes of Pain and Despair

Wednesday, June 16 | 2:20-3:10 p.m. ET

Black, Brown, Indigenous and Immigrant populations have suffered disproportionate rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The death of George Floyd reiterated the need to address racial justice and equity in our sector. This confluence of racial injustice and health inequities are propelling philanthropic solutions grounded in collective action and led by community voice. This session will present a collective action framework and real time examples of how foundations can foster sustainable systems change.

Crisis, Connection, & Collaboration: Learning and Growing Impact in a Challenging Year

Thursday, June 17 | 12:50-1:40 p.m. ET

2020 forced everyone to think differently. For many communities in East Texas and Louisiana, the crisis of the pandemic was an additional blow to families already struggling due to devastating storms and chronic systemic disparities. However, new opportunities have emerged spurred by the realization that there is power in convening and learning from each other, and through that, learning and collaboration change is occurring. In Louisiana, a corporate foundation convened regional philanthropic groups which have fostered the spread of new ideas. In Houston and East Texas, a health foundation has been supporting the establishment of a network of clergy working to advocate for Medicaid expansion to help reduce health disparities in the state. This session will discuss how unique collaborations and connections are leading to impactful community change.

Introducing Ethos: A Way to Address Dilemmas with Empathy and Integrity

Thursday, June 17 | 12:50-1:40 p.m. ET

To make progress on the urgent challenges faced today, we need to stop funding just the “usual suspects” and bravely invest in movements and traditionally under-funded changemakers. Choosing equity isn’t without risks. Philanthropists and those who support them face many ethical dilemmas because of their commitment to openness and inclusion. Together, GlobalGiving and its peers have created Ethos, a framework for addressing philanthropic challenges. Join this session to test out Ethos and learn to make more confident ethical decisions with curiosity, empathy, and integrity.

Community Foundations as Civic Homes

Thursday, June 17 | 1:50-2:40 p.m. ET

In 2020, a cohort of five California community foundations partnered with Justice Funders to imagine new possibilities for the future of community philanthropy. We explored concepts of civic identities and political journeys, questioned our notions of what makes a home and co-created a vision of community foundations as inclusive hubs of civic engagement. In this conversation you’ll hear the challenges, opportunities and experiments that our community foundation cohort navigated, and have an opportunity to share your own vision for civic homes in your community.

Shifting Power to Young People: New Visions for Philanthropy

Thursday, June 17 | 1:50-2:40 p.m. ET

Youth worldwide are mobilizing to protect human rights, fight climate change, and call for racial justice. They are reshaping civil society, and with it the possibilities of transformational change. In this session designed by young leaders, participants will explore what philanthropy can learn and unlearn from youth visions for change in global philanthropy. Funders, whether or not they resource youth, can join to reimagine trust, flexibility, power, and partnership to shape civil society’s future.