Tuesday Schedule

Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday

Schedule at a Glance

Slides and Resources are listed under their appropriate session.

Inspirational topics presented with a philanthropy lens

Sessions focused on philanthropy's fundamentals 

Sessions designed specifically with seasoned practitioners in mind

Opportunities to celebrate Exponent Philanthropy’s 20th anniversary

Exhibit Hall Open

7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Participate in Philanthropy Research

7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Please consider supporting social scientific research on philanthropic decision making. The study is anonymous and takes 2-4 minutes to complete. Receive Chicago's famous Garrett Popcorn as a thank you! Find the Northwestern University researchers in the exhibit hall.             

Registration Open

7:00 am - 6:00 pm 

Breakfast Plenary: New Frontiers of Social Innovation  

7:30 am - 9:00 am

Hear first-hand from the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation team and their social entrepreneurs how to catalyze innovation and create real impact across the globe.  Join an intimate conversation with DRK’s social entrepreneurs who are addressing some of society’s most complex issues and hear how funders can help them to achieve their greatest impact. This session is generously supported by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

Speakers: Erik Birkerts, Clean Energy Trust, Chicago, IL;  Aimée Eubanks Davis, Braven, Chicago, IL; Anne Heller, Power of Two, Brooklyn, NY; and Aylon Samouha, Transcend, Chicago, IL; Moderated by Jim Bildner, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Menlo Park, CA.

Learning Labs

9:00 am - 11:30 am  

A Higher ROI: Leveraging Your Resources in the Policy ArenaNatCon16-book-iconNatCon16-lightbulb-icon

As a philanthropist, your voice carries tremendous weight in the policy arena. Influencing the policy landscape of an issue helps you get at the root of problems and catalyze wide-scale change. This workshop provides clarity on the freedom the law allows, dispels myths, builds confidence, and inspires with case examples of successful policy engagement by small funders.  Speakers: Jennifer Esterline, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, Austin, TX; Lisa Klein, Alliance for Early Success, Leawood, KS; Jason Sabo, Frontera Strategy, Austin, TX; and Katherine Wright, Wright Family Foundation, TX


Be Ready! Leadership Succession PlanningNatCon16-book-icon

Year after year, our members rank leadership succession as their top concern. Whether you are embarking on or need to prepare for leadership succession at your organization—for board or staff—you are not alone! Designed for family, independent, corporate, and community foundations, this session also applies to giving circles. Learn from experts and your peers, and leave with new insights, tools, and action steps. Speakers: Rosemary DiRita, Glenmede, Philadelphia, PA; Jeff Glebocki, Strategy + Action/Philanthropy, Tucson, AZ; and Ruth Masterson, Exponent Philanthropy, Washington, DC


Collective Impact  NatCon16-gradhat-icon

The collective impact model has the potential to create real results by bringing together interested parties—funders, nonprofit leaders, local businesses, government, and others—in pursuit of a common agenda. Using stories of past and ongoing collective impact initiatives, delve into what collective impact is and its potential for long-lasting results. Speaker: Parv Shanthosh-Kumar, StriveTogether, Chicago, IL

Communication Basics for FoundationsNatCon16-book-icon

Communications, from websites to social media to storytelling, can be a catalytic part of your philanthropy. If you don’t have the basics in place, though, your communications efforts can quickly drain your time and energy—and leave you without results. In this session, we’ll start from the beginning by helping you hone in on your purpose, craft a key message, take stock of foundation resources, and explore how to share your foundation’s story. Although the session may address social media, it will not be the session’s primary focus. Speakers: Sara Redington, The Miles Foundation, Fort Worth, TX, and Danielle M. Reyes, The Crimsonbridge Foundation, Bethesda, MD


Cultivating an Ecosystem for ChangeNatCon16-gradhat-iconNatCon16-lightbulb-icon

To achieve long-lasting, systemic change, funders have to understand the environments within which they and their grantees operate. Who are the key players? What are the conditions? And what relationships currently do or do not exist? Learn about the common characteristics of ecosystems that encourage social change and explore the roles funders can play in cultivating systems that enable social change agents to flourish. Speakers: Melinda Fine, TCC Group, New York, NY, and Avani Patel, Peery Foundation, Palo Alto, CA

Resources: Resource List

Elevating "Small" in Funder Collaboration NatCon16-gradhat-icon

Grantmakers are increasingly collaborating around shared concerns. Smaller funders, however, can often feel overpowered in collaborations in which other, much larger partners are involved. This session explores how smaller funders can ensure that their voices are heard no matter who else or how many others are in the room. Speakers: Stephanie Chan, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), Washington, DC, and Sharmila Rao Thakkar, The Siragusa Foundation, Chicago, IL

Facilitation Skills for More Effective Philanthropy NatCon16-book-icon

Back by popular demand, with new content! Whether you’re a donor, staff , or  trustee, strong facilitation is key to effective philanthropy. From major convenings to everyday meetings, confident facilitation strengthens your work and makes it more productive, inclusive,and enjoyable. Practice skills and leave with concrete tools, frameworks, and tips. Speakers: Hanh Le, Weissberg Foundation, Arlington, VA, and Janice Simsohn Shaw, Independent Consultant, Takoma Park, MD

Resources: Resource List | Workbook | Managing Common Facilitation Situations

Reading, Understanding, and Using Nonprofit Financials NatCon16-book-icon

Do you know what you’re looking for when reviewing a nonprofit’s financials? Join us for an overview of the information to be found in various nonprofit financial documents: signs of financial health and red flags that require further conversation. Walk away confident that you will be able to see past the numbers to the more complete story they tell about an organization! Speakers: Beth Gosch, Western New York Foundation, Buffalo, NY, and Mary Phillips, GMA Foundations, Boston, MA

Resource: Resource List | Slides

Speaking Truth to Power NatCon16-lightbulb-icon

What do nonprofit leaders really need, value, and appreciate? What are their pet peeves? This session provides a rare opportunity for candid dialogue with nonprofit leaders about how to be true partners. Come away with valuable insights and tips for continuing the conversation with your grantees. Speakers: Jennifer Kahl Grumhaus, North Chicago Community Partners, Lake Bluff, IL; Diana Maguire, AmeriCares, Stamford, CT; Ken Modzelewski, The Trust for Public Land, Chicago, IL; Michelle Morales, Mikva Challenge, Chicago, IL; and Carolyn O'Brien, MissionBridge Philanthropy, LLC, New Canaan, CT

Resource: Resource List | Bill of Rights

Service Project: Workforce Development

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Cleanslate, a social enterprise of Cara, provides paid transitional jobs for Chicagoans who face high barriers to employment, such as extensive criminal histories, recent or former incarceration, or limited levels of education or employment. Cleanslate offers an array of exterior maintenance services, including litter abatement, landscape maintenance, snow removal, graffiti removal, and special event services. Interns at Cleanslate keep Chicago’s neighborhoods beautiful while receiving an hourly wage, ongoing equipment/safety training, and monthly reviews to measure and improve performance. During their transitional jobs at Cleanslate, interns work with Cara staff to be placed into permanent, quality jobs in the private sector. Since its inception in 2005, Cleanslate has created or secured 3,000 jobs for Cara’s toughest-to-employ participants.

This morning, learn more about this unique social enterprise as you work alongside a Cleanslate crew on a neighborhood beautification project. Limited to 10 participants.

Speakers: Jessica Harris, Cara, Chicago, IL, and Karen Kay, Cara, Chicago, IL                       

Site Visit: Community Organizing & Violence Prevention

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Enlace Chicago is a community-based organization in the Southwest Side of Chicago that is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of Little Village community residents. It fosters a physically safe and healthy living environment and champions opportunities for educational advancement and economic development. Following a brief tour of the neighborhood, you’ll visit a state-of-the-art school built after residents went on a 19-day hunger strike and have an opportunity to talk with Enlace staff, Little Village community members, and members of the local philanthropic community. Speaker: Fanny Diego-Alvarez, Enlace Chicago, Chicago, IL; and Regina McGraw, Wieboldt Foundation, Chicago, IL

Site Visit: Workforce Development

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Located in an economically depressed neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, Inspiration Kitchens-Garfield Park is Inspiration Corporation’s social enterprise restaurant and food service training center. The LEED Gold–certified facility features a 1,990-square-foot kitchen in which job seekers affected by homelessness and poverty receive hands-on training in a working restaurant and develop the skills and experience needed to build new careers and brighter futures. Join the Inspiration Kitchens staff on a tour of this beautiful and unique facility, including a stop in the kitchen at the end of the tour for a “taste” of the program and conversation with participants.

Speakers: Evan Cauble-Johnson, Inspiration Corporation, Chicago, IL, and Shannon Stewart, Inspiration Corporation, Chicago, IL

Break in Exhibit Hall

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Exhibit Hall Refreshment Breaks are generously supported by Bernstein, Drexel Morgan Capital Advisers, FluidReview by SurveyMonkey, Fluxx, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, NGOsource, Northern Trust, PNC Institutional Asset Management, and Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd.

Luncheon Plenary & Membership MeetingNatCon16-20-icon

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Don’t miss this year’s membership meeting, which will include the inaugural Outsized Impact Awards and a participatory celebration of Exponent Philanthropy’s 20th anniversary. All conference participants are invited to gather with the membership over lunch and hear from the association’s leadership.

Dessert in Exhibit Hall

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Exhibit Hall Refreshment Breaks are generously supported by Bernstein, Drexel Morgan Capital Advisers, FluidReview by SurveyMonkey, Fluxx, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, NGOsource, Northern Trust, PNC Institutional Asset Management, and Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd.

Service Project: Urban Agriculture

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Angelic Organics Learning Center (AOLC) builds sustainable local food and farm systems through experiential education and training programs in partnership with rural and urban people. Established in 1999 as a nonprofit organization in partnership to Angelic Organics Farm, AOLC reaches more than 5,000 people each year through educational programs and urban growing sites in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. AOLC’s Eat to Live Englewood (E2L) project builds a healthier local food system and economy in the neighborhood around Chicago’s E2L Learning Gardens & Incubator Farm. Volunteers will work at one of the E2L Learning Gardens moving compost and woodchips, preparing growing beds, cutting brush and digging stumps, and/or planting of seeds or plants. Activities are flexible and weather dependent. Participants should dress for outdoor work, including closed shoes and a hat. Speakers: Denise Stennis, Angelic Organics Learning Center, Chicago, IL

Site Visit: Innovation Through An Education Lens

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Chicago has continually pushed to redefine itself and embrace innovation, from the world's first skyscraper to the first futures exchange. Today, organizations like 1871 and LEAP Innovations are making Chicago the national hub for tech startups and innovation in education. Tour 1871, Chicago’s tech hub and home to LEAP Innovations, and dig deep into LEAP Innovations' education initiatives. Talk with local teachers and principals about how they are transforming their schools through personalized learning; try out the best ed tech solutions; and see how LEAP is reinventing teaching and learning. This site visit is generously supported by Okabena Advisors. Speaker: Phyllis Lockett, LEAP Innovations, Chicago, IL

Early Afternoon Sessions

2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Balancing Perspectives: What the Presidential Election Could Mean for Funders and Philanthropy

Experienced Executive Director track

With the presidential election just weeks away, join us for a discussion about how the new administration may impact issues affecting philanthropy and giving, including how the candidate’s proposed polices and campaign rhetoric will change government funding for nonprofits, and the resulting impact on civil society. Speakers: Henry Berman, Exponent Philanthropy, Washington, DC; Delia Coleman, Forefront, Chicago, IL;,Rahsaan Harris, The Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in the Media; Floyd Keene, The Triple EEE Foundation, Deerfield, IL; and Sandra Swirski, Urban Swirski & Associates, LLC, Washington, DC

Hiring, Managing, and Evaluating Investment AdvisorsNatCon16-book-icon

In the past 15 years, our member foundations’ use of investment consultants jumped exponentially from 56% to 87%. Get practical insight into how to choose and oversee an investment advisor. Learn from candid, real-world examples to help you with the process.  Speaker: Kim Krause, SunTrust Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice, Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Debra Moniz, Cedar Tree Foundation, Boston, MA


Implicit Bias in Philanthropy NatCon16-lightbulb-icon

Unconscious racial bias affects our decisions and actions, and has become embedded in our organizations and institutions. Learn strategies to acknowledge and reduce levels of implicit bias, and hear from peers how they have adopted these strategies in their own philanthropic work. Speaker: Johanna Wald, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Cambridge, MA


Navigating Tough Conversations at the Family TableNatCon16-book-icon

When personal relationships are mixed with philanthropic aspirations, members of family foundations will inevitably have one (or more) tough conversations. Tough conversations are often delayed or avoided. And, without a plan, they can leave both parties, and the relationship, in worse shape than before. Learn when to have tough conversations, practice how to organize them for optimal outcomes, and leave ready to face your next one with courage and confidence.  Speaker: Anna McKeon, Fidelity Charitable, Boston, MA, and Kathleen Odne, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Walnut Creek, CA

Resources: Slides | Worksheet

Opportunities for Economic Development in Rural CommunitiesNatCon16-gradhat-icon

Many rural communities suffer from depressed economies that lag behind their urban and suburban counterparts, and they frequently receive fewer philanthropic dollars. How are donors stepping in to affect change in areas such as employment and sustainable growth? With a conversation focused on opportunities, rural funders working to make a difference share their strategies and stories. Speakers: Becky Ceperley, Appalachian Funders Network, Charleston, WV; and Michelle Foster, Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Charleston, WV

Resources: Handout | Resource List | Slides

Stretch Your Imagination: Creative Grantmaking Done LegallyNatCon16-lightbulb-icon

Get the scoop on how to make grants to businesses, gifts to individuals, loans to nonprofits, and more. “Can we do that?” Yes, you can! Learn not only how to fit uncommon grant strategies into your funding portfolio in this fun, comprehensive, fast-paced review, but also hear about the latest updates in federal laws governing private foundations. Speaker: Jeffrey D. Haskell, Foundation Source, Lake Success, NY

Resources: Resource List | Slides

Your Leadership: Your Reflective PracticeNatCon16-gradhat-icon

As a philanthropy practitioner, you encounter challenges that can’t be solved by philanthropic expertise alone. You need tools and skills to help you get to better outcomes with problems that don’t have technical solutions. This session identifies reflective practices that can help build your leadership muscle, regardless of your position. Speakers: Jan Jaffe, Philanthropy Northwest, New York, NY; Janis Reischmann, Hau'oli Mau Loa Foundation, Honolulu, HI; and Mark Sedway, The Giving Practice, Chicago, IL

Resources: Handout

Break in Exhibit Hall

3:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Exhibit Hall Refreshment Breaks are generously supported by Bernstein, Drexel Morgan Capital Advisers, FluidReview by SurveyMonkey, Fluxx, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, NGOsource, Northern Trust, PNC Institutional Asset Management, and Strategic Philanthropy, Ltd.

Late Afternoon Sessions

3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: Start Where You Are... But Where Are You?NatCon16-lightbulb-iconNatCon16-book-icon

Organizations that recognize and use the power of differences (in generation, gender, education, race/ethnicity, personality type, and more) generally outperform those that don’t. Is your foundation aware of the differences within its board and staff? Does it have ways to openly talk about those differences? Is it equipped to leverage differences to improve its strategies and increase its impact? Join this highly interactive session to learn, share, and discover. You will leave with a set of discussion guides and assessment tools, new insights, and new ideas. Speakers: Debbie McKeon, Council of Michigan Foundations, Grand Haven, MI, and Vicki Rosenberg, Vicki Rosenberg & Associates, Saugatuck, MI

Resources: Resource List | Guide | Slides

Getting to Impact: Why Evaluation Is KeyNatCon16-book-icon

Evaluation is committing to the work of learning and improving your philanthropy to better reach your goals. Come away with a solid understanding of the value of doing evaluation, the right time to engage in it, and the labor and time a funder needs to commit. Get inspired by the power of evaluation and intentional learning. Speakers: Nick Allen, Arbor Brothers, Inc., New York, NY, and Sammy Politziner, Arbor Brothers, Inc., New York, NY 


The Journey to Catalytic PhilanthropyNatCon16-gradhat-icon

Small-staffed funders are catalyzing change on urgent, complex issues. Catalytic work involves building deep knowledge, finding leverage points, inspiring partners toward a common purpose, influencing policy, and learning and evolving as you go. Explore ways to begin the journey so you can use your unique assets and position as a funder to be a force for change. Speaker: Doug Bauer, The Clark Foundation, New York, NY

Leadership Strategies for BoardsNatCon16-lightbulb-iconNatCon16-gradhat-icon

What does leadership mean for your foundation board? In what ways is your board already a leader in your community? How can your board up its game? Learn how foundation boards inspire others in their community and come away practical tips to keep your own board engaged, learning, and leading. Speakers: Emily Hall, Olive Grove, Foster City, CA, and Marc Manashil, 11plus Philanthropy, Oakland, CA

Resources: Resource List | Slides

Leveraging Foundation Dollars With Program-Related Investments and Other Tools NatCon16-book-icon

Making loans to nonprofit organizations can be an exciting way to leverage dollars toward a charitable purpose, but it can be difficult to figure out exactly where to start. Discuss accurately assessing the “riskiness” of a loan program, when PRIs and recoverable grants can be particularly useful , and the concrete steps to take to help you get started. Speaker: Caroline Bressan, Open Road Alliance, Washington, DC


Philanthropy Lessons Live

Building upon Exponent Philanthropy’s Philanthropy Lessons campaign to increase openness and information sharing, join Clark McCain of The Coleman Foundation (funder) and Susan Kaufman of Clearbrook (grantee) as they openly share lessons about working together and how it has enhance their overall impact. Come to listen as well as share what you’ve learned. Lessons cover themes that apply across geographies, issues areas, and funder size.  Speakers: Henry Berman, Exponent Philanthropy, Washington, DC; Susan Kaufman, Clearbrook, Arlington Heights, IL; and Clark McCain, The Coleman Foundation, Chicago, IL

Taking Data-Driven ActionNatCon16-gradhat-icon

What are data, how can data be used, and which data matter for your philanthropy? This session demystifies common misconceptions, establishes a common language, and helps participants identify how to get to data-driven action in their philanthropy. Speakers: Andrea Berry, Maine Initiatives, Brunswick, ME; and Henry Bromelkamp, Bromelkamp Company LLC, Minneapolis, MN

Resources: Resource List

Understanding and Controlling Investment Fees NatCon16-book-icon

Fees are a fact of investing. Every investor pays fees, but many types exist, from manager fees to trading fees to fees on certain kinds of investments. This session demystifies the different kinds of fees so you can ensure that the fees you are paying are necessary for a diversified portfolio. Speakers: Lynn Erskine, Drexel Morgan Capital Advisers, Radnor, PA, and Poorvi Parekh, Canterbury Consulting, Newport Beach, CA


Creating a Strategy and Plan for Your Foundation's Investing


Twilight City Stroll

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Join colleagues on a walk this evening! Choose from routes crafted by peers for an hour-long urban stroll.  

Local Engagement Group Coordinators Meet & Greet 

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

In 2013 we began our Local Engagement Group Initiative to provide opportunities for members to connect with and learn from others in their community. LEG programs are planned and hosted by members! LEG coordinators – and those interested in learning more – are invited for a meet & greet at the hotel lobby bar (hosted). Thank you to the Northern Ohio LEG Coordinators and The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation for hosting  this event.

The Lawyer Is In  

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Have a legal question on your mind? Sign up onsite at the conference registration desk for your complimentary 15-minute private session. Space is limited. 

20th Anniversary Celebration at Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley HallNatCon16-20-icon

ChiArts Jazz Combo

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

It’s a party! Exponent Philanthropy turns 20 this year, and we are celebrating in style at the magnificent Preston Bradley Hall in the stately Chicago Cultural Center. The hall boasts the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world and showcases the city’s great architectural tradition.

As we toast 20 years of Exponent Philanthropy, we’ll enjoy the sounds of the ChiArts Jazz Combo, the Chicago High School for the Arts’ top jazz instrumentalists (pictured). These amazing student performers are immersed in a complete professional setting, from intensive rehearsals and partnerships with renowned music organizations to paid engagements at prestigious events, and alumni have gone on to study at numerous reputable institutions.

The 20th Anniversary Reception is generously supported by Bessemer Trust, N.A.

Master Juggler Alumni Meet & Greet

9:00 pm

Exponent Philanthropy’s Master Juggler Executive Institute, a carefully crafted 6-month program for those in the most senior staff role at their foundations, will welcome its fourth cohort this spring. Master Juggler alumni and those interested in learning more about MJEI are invited for an after-hours meet & greet at the hotel lobby bar (self pay).