7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Exhibit Hall Open
8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Breakfast and Exhibit Hall Grand Opening
8:00 – 9:30 am
Join us at the Exhibit Hall’s official opening. Chat with exhibitors and peers over breakfast before heading into the Opening Plenary. Optional seating, by role in philanthropy, is available.
9:30 – 10:30 am
Welcome to Exponent Philanthropy’s biennial National Conference! Opening the conference is CEO Henry Berman, followed by a keynote speaker.
10:45 – 11:45 am
During this hour dedicated to funder stories, hear about the transformative work of your peers, have an opportunity to ask questions, and get ideas to solve issues in your community. Choose to spend your time in the Hall of Outsized Impact to review two dozen member stories or a session room to listen to one member share his or her experience.
The Hall of Outsized Impact
Submit your story for the Hall of Outsized Impact now.
Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis until all spaces are filled and no later than June 15, 2018.
Creative Approaches to Community Foundation Asset Development
How can community foundations with limited staff capacity raise the funds they need to support community grantmaking and leadership efforts? Community foundations from across the country share how they approach asset development with limited staff capacity. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to share their creative approaches.
-Implement a couple new ideas to leverage current fund holders, your board, and professional advisors to develop new funds.
-Identify ways to create opportunities for asset development while managing your board’s expectations for growth.
Diverse Voices: Adding Community Members to a Family Foundation Board
In 2017, the Andrus Family Fund added three community members to what historically has been a family board. Find out how the fund reached that decision, the process the foundation undertook, the lessons learned along the way, and how you can implement similar changes in your organization.
-Discuss the process and benefits of diversifying a foundation board.
Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Through Grantmaking
DEI is a sensitive issue, even among allies, but foundations are increasingly recognizing it as a core value of philanthropy and a measure of effective grantmaking. Applying DEI criteria in the grantmaking process sparks meaningful conversation and can be a catalyst for change. Learn about conversations and tools used by funders to promote nonprofit leadership diversity.
-Get ideas for how small foundations can incorporate DEI objectives in their grantmaking process.
-Identify ways philanthropy can lead and influence others to advance DEI and social justice issues in their community.
Hi Ho! Off to Court We Go…
Involvement in litigation affects strategy and daily operations of lean funders in multiple ways. Learn from funders’ experiences as plaintiff and defendant in separate actions about how the lawsuits affected governance, internal and external relationships, reputation, workflows, and resources. Lessons learned will help participants prepare for their own litigation risks.
-Articulate how litigation impacts a foundation’s strategy and daily operations.
-Begin to formulate a plan to better prepare and mitigate risks associated with litigation.
Impact and Succession Planning: They’re Related?
Sound foundation management is rooted in effective governance, but leadership conversations can be emotional and intimate. The Wilson Foundation shares its process of reflection, communication, and overcoming challenges in the overhaul of its leadership structure. Learn when to acknowledge emotions and how to ground the conversation in the ultimate goal: impact.
-Identify areas where their succession planning can overlap with their giving goals.
Making a Shift from Transactional to Transformational Grantmaking
The Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation recently transitioned from traditional cycle-based grantmaking to a 6-year, multimillion-dollar pilot project focused on eight grantees in rural Maine. The foundation shares its (still-unfolding) story, then asks participants to bring their idea for a big bet and work together in groups to identify risks, possible pitfalls, and potential pathways forward so they may become a catalyst and change maker.
-Become attuned to opportunities for smaller-scale shifts in your organization that could serve as stepping-stones for transitioning to a more transformational approach to grantmaking.
-Be able to identify key factors and conditions that impact how and when you might implement a shift, such as stakeholder buy-in, grantee readiness, potential allies and foes, and your ability to manage short-term expectations within a long-term timeline.
-Gain confidence in your potential as a small funder to catalyze big, bold, transformational change.
Using Funder Networks to Maximize Your Scope and Impact
Do you have no or limited staff capacity yet want a creative way of partnering with grantmakers to achieve your mission? The Daphne Foundation shares its journey of strategic planning that engaged 15 New York City grantmakers and resulted in a docket of new grantees aligned with a new direction.
-Learn ways to leverage funder networks to maximize effectiveness.
-Learn to use the strategic planning process to create a value-driven agenda and appreciate new norms of how funders interact with and learn from grantees.
Plenary Lunch, by Funding Area
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Enjoy lunch with your peers; seating is by general funding issue areas.
Early Afternoon Sessions
1:15 – 2:30 pm
A Governance Tune-Up
Strong governance policies are essential for ethical practice and legal compliance, and for establishing common expectations among board, staff, and family. Get an opportunity to inventory the state of your governance policies; learn best practices in critical areas, such as conflict of interest, self-dealing, and expenses; and participate in a mini-clinic to address a specific need at your foundation.
-Understand the full range of recommended governance policies for foundations and inventory what is missing or potentially out of date at your organization.
-Identify best practices for crafting critical governance policies
-Leave with a work plan for policy review, enhancement, and development.
Change Up Your Questions: Align Your Grantmaking Process With Your Values and Vision
What is important to you? What is the vision that shapes your philanthropy? Explore how asking questions that truly reflect your values can help you find partners whose approach aligns with yours and who embody the qualities you seek. Learn how changing up your questions can transform conversations, relationships, and decision making.
-Know the steps required to lead your foundation and board—with confidence—through a process that explores your values and identifies the information you need to make impactful grantmaking decisions.
-Know the steps required to assess and revise your foundation’s application and due diligence process so that it more fully reflects your values and goals, and empowers you to gather essential insight for decision making.
Cybersecurity Is More Than Just a Password
The importance of foundations’ establishing and maintaining a cybersecurity program has never been more critical. It’s not a matter of if you will be breached but when. Gain insight into the techniques and tactics cybercriminals are using and the critical cyber protections needed to ensure a reasonable cyber defense.
-Understand key controls needed to defend against the cyber threats.
-Recognize key incident response considerations.
Half of What You Know About Your Investment Policy Statement Is Wrong
Investment policies are typically based on the parameters and expectations of a “normal” market environment. But what happens when markets deviate from their “normal” path? The answer depends on whether your IPS is constructed to respond to anomalous events. Organizations often struggle with balancing unyielding structure with the flexibility to make tactical changes. Both are needed.
-Understand where your investment policy statement (IPS) might have weaknesses.
-Learn action steps for revising and strengthening your IPS to meet your fiduciary obligations.
Hiring and Managing Great Staff
Hiring staff is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a small foundation. What are the basics of hiring and managing great people? Learn the nuts and bolts about how to hire staff, what benefits to offer, and how to benchmark compensation.
-Explain how to recruit great talent for your foundation (including with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens).
-Name at least one or two ways to retain great staff.
-Understand how to align staff time and organizational priorities.
Making the Case for Equity-Advancing Grantmaking
Working to advance racial and gender equity can help you achieve your philanthropic goals, but funders sometimes need help aligning equity with their mission and process. Join our lean funder faculty in an interactive workshop on how to navigate challenges in making the case for, and integrating racial and gender equity in, philanthropic work.
-Understand that advancing equity in your grantmaking can help you succeed in achieving your philanthropic mission, rather than being a burdensome or distracting “should.”
-Become aware that challenges are to be expected and learn about ways to navigate challenges as you make the case.
Ramping up Your Impact: Overcoming Obstacles
Have you been trying to make a change with your philanthropy but aren’t seeing the impact you’ve been hoping for? Learn from other funders and dig into the new toolkit by Exponent Philanthropy and The Philanthropic Initiative to identify obstacles that are impeding your ability to reach the next level of impact. Develop strategies for overcoming these obstacles to ramp up your impact.
-Identify common obstacles to ramping up philanthropic impact and explore which ones you or your foundation may face.
-Develop a plan to address obstacles to ramping up your philanthropic impact.
What Should I Be Asking My Investment Professionals?
Managing large investment portfolios can be a new experience for many foundation board members. Working with an investment professional can be a great solution, but this arrangement doesn’t mean board members can abdicate their responsibilities. What are the fiduciary responsibilities of foundation board members? What codes of conduct bind investment professionals? Board members and investment professionals must work together to understand one another’s roles and responsibilities.
-Learn the fiduciary responsibilities of board members and investment professionals.
-Understand the questions to ask your investment professionals to promote a strong working relationship.
Site Visit: Immigrant Communities Thriving
1:30 – 4:30 pm
Take a trip to South Philadelphia to see the work of two organizations that serve local immigrant communities through health care, education, leadership development, and human rights advocacy.
Puentes de Salud works to improve community and individual health and wellness by providing immediate health services and educational programming that ranges from ESL to yoga. Puentes de Salud is notable in its wide range of partnerships with community members, local public schools, universities, governmental institutions, and other nonprofit organizations.
In this visit, Puentes will showcase Southwark Elementary, the site of the bulk of its educational programs that serve both students and parents. Participants will talk with leaders from the school and Puentes about their partnership in supporting the expanding vulnerable local population.
Juntos is a community-led, Latinx immigrant organization fighting for human rights of workers, parents, youth, and immigrants. Juntos combines leadership development, community organizing, and focused collaborations with other community based and advocacy organizations to build the power of its community members so they may be active agents of change and work against their own oppression.
Participants will meet with Juntos leadership at their home office to discuss their work to empower immigrant communities.
Preregistration required. Sign up for site visits will occur in the summer.
Break in the Exhibit Hall
2:30 – 3:00 pm
Late Afternoon Sessions
3:00 – 4:15 pm
Building a Mission-Aligned Investment Portfolio: From Concept to Reality
Thinking about aligning the mission of your philanthropy with the mission of your investments? Learn how foundations with few or no full-time staff are aligning their values with their investment portfolios. The session covers opportunities for mission-alignment across public markets, private markets, and program-related investments.
-Describe approaches to build a mission-aligned portfolio and the strategies available in the market today.
Engaging With Local Media to Increase Impact and Support Democracy
Most lean foundations want to make a big impact. Foundations are turning to nonprofit news as a way to stimulate public discourse, ensure that their communities have access to trustworthy information, raise public awareness of important issues, and catalyze community change. Get a roadmap to the ethics and impact of investing in nonprofit news.
-Learn about the landscape of local media, including how and why some foundations are working with nonprofit media as partners to achieve coverage of community issues.
-Get tools for assessing the impact of working with local media and find out what can and cannot be expected when engaging with the media.
How Client Feedback Can Improve Philanthropy
Too often, the people nonprofits serve are overlooked as potential partners for improving nonprofit outcomes and strengthening philanthropy. Explore how customer feedback tools developed in the business world can help nonprofits and foundations be more connected and responsive to the people they seek to serve, and how to help grantees build their capacity to collect and respond to feedback.
-Define perceptual feedback and understand its relationship to other forms of measurement and evaluation.
-Cite examples of how feedback has strengthened nonprofit programs and influenced philanthropy.
Limited Resources, Unlimited Possibilities
Philanthropic tools aren’t limited to the size of your bank account. Capacity building, advocacy, and fostering relationships are often more valuable. Learn ways to move the needle on positive change in your community—ways that don’t ever require you to write a check.
-Build your awareness of the many ways small-staffed foundations can make an impact beyond grants.
-Start to catalogue your assets beyond dollars—the knowledge and skills of your board and staff, your relationships and connections, your reputation, and more.
-Begin to brainstorm ideas for leveraging your assets and powers to fulfill your desired outcomes.
Mapping Your Ecosystem for Greater Impact
How do you know that resources are going where most needed? Learn how the Neubauer Family Foundation—along with the University of Pennsylvania, School District of Philadelphia, and 100 arts leaders—mapped existing resources across Philadelphia. The resulting map is poised to empower the education system to better serve students. Explore how to adapt the mapping process for impact in your community.
-Understand how ecosystem mapping enables lean funders to influence strategic resource allocation in a city.
-Discover how funders can serve as an ecosystem’s central innovation node by activating the system on behalf of a common goal.
Reducing Barriers and Strengthening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Youth Philanthropy
Youth philanthropy provides young people with the money and mentorship to directly fund nonprofit organizations. Discuss the importance and impact of a DEI lens within all models of youth philanthropy programs, no matter your giving vehicle.
-Apply an understanding of the benefits of youth voice and decision making into your foundation’s practices.
-Describe barriers to bringing diverse youths to the table.
-Identify practices for making youth philanthropy opportunities accessible to all youths.
Vision and Purpose: How to Align Board and Staff
Achieving a shared sense of purpose among an organization’s board and senior staff is essential to achieving enduring philanthropic impact. We will review the elements of effective board leadership and examine the essential role that board chairs play in establishing a shared vision, engaging board members, and providing direction to foundation staff. In a facilitated conversation, hear perspectives from both board and staff leadership.
-Understand and list the elements of effective board governance, and techniques for engaging board members for greater shared purpose.
-Understand techniques for managing dynamics and expectations that exist across board and senior staff lines.
-In a facilitated Q&A session, troubleshoot “live” challenges of individual board and staff leaders.
Opening Night Reception
4:30 – 6:00 pm
Chat with exhibitors and colleagues over hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
Chair’s Reception for Donors
5:30 – 7:00 pm
For Exponent Philanthropy donors by invitation only
Gather with fellow conference participants for informal learning and great conversation around a specific topic or theme. Participants have the choice of hosted or self-pay dinners. Learn more about hosting a dine-around Sign up for dine-arounds will open later this summer.
Note about 2018 National Conference sessions: Sessions are designated as 101, 201, or 301. Here’s what to expect from each:
101 Fundamentals—Assumes participants have limited or no prior knowledge of or experience with the subject
201 Application—Focused on building on or enhancing participants’ existing knowledge of a subject through analysis, practice implementation, and/or deeper learning
301 Thought Leadership—Engages participants’ experience/expertise in strategic, innovative, and/or complex subjects