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On the heels of a divisive election, Philanthropy Network’s conference seeks to unite

Monday, November 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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Funders and nonprofits need to talk more, Executive Director Maari Porter said. The fall conference will encourage that this Thursday.

By  Julie Zeglen / STAFF

What a week, huh?

This year’s Philanthropy Network conference, to be held this Thursday, is titled “Toward a More Perfect Union: Strengthening the Sector Together,” and the theme couldn’t be more appropriate, given the country’s political state post-Election 2016.

“Although we didn’t predict the outcome, we did know we were coming on the heels of a very divisive election,” said Executive Director Maari Porter. “So no matter the outcome, I think what we wanted to talk about is, what is the role of the social sector? And do we believe that the social sector exists to what we call ‘serve and repair’?”

The social sector’s work is perhaps more crucial now than ever, Porter said. After all, its main objective is to attempt to solve the problems government and the private sector alone aren’t solving.

The conference’s keynote and workshops will “push on messages of unity,” she said — to encourage more dialogue between funders and nonprofits, for one. Accordingly, Philanthropy Network tapped Vu Le, the executive director of Seattle’s Rainier Valley Corps who also runs the oft-hilarious nonprofit blog “Nonprofit With Balls,” as the event’s keynote speaker.

“He elevates and illuminates some of these barriers that exist, and it’s up to us to take them down,” Porter said. “He’s really good at [providing] challenge but in a really irreverent way,” along with practical solutions of how to be better.

While Porter thinks it’s “too early to say” what impact a  Trump presidency will have on the local philanthropic sector, it will certainly inspire conversation about what role area funders and nonprofits can play in shaping the country’s future. Three “breakthrough” sessions will discuss:

  • True Costs of Excellence: Getting to Better Outcomes” — How to fund in smarter ways, and the real cost of good talent (overhead myth, anyone?)
  • The  Equity Imperative: Getting Beyond the Talk” — What equity really means
  • Breaking out of the Safe Zone: Changing Roles and Relationships of Funders and Grantees” — What new models of funding look like

Philanthropy Network’s 2016 fall conference, “Toward a More Perfect Union: Strengthening the Sector Together,” will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the  Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. Tickets are available  here.